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See more synonyms for inkhorn on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small container of horn or other material, formerly used to hold writing ink.
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Origin of inkhorn

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at ink, horn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for inkhorn

abstruse, academic, arid, bookish, didactic, doctrinaire, dry, dull, egotistic, erudite, formal, fussy, hairsplitting, learned, literary, ostentatious, particular, pedagogic, pedantical, pompous

Examples from the Web for inkhorn

Historical Examples of inkhorn

  • There was an inkhorn and paper at a little table and he wrote a line and signed it.

    The Mercenary

    W. J. Eccott

  • In his hand was his weapon, a pen; his skull was an inkhorn, and his cap its lid.


    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • He recalled this now, as he took his inkhorn from the dusty table.

  • Away with him, I say: hang him with his pen and inkhorn about his neck.

  • Bené Leblanc will be here anon, with his papers and inkhorn.

British Dictionary definitions for inkhorn


  1. (formerly) a small portable container for ink, usually made from horn
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for inkhorn


late 14c., "small portable vessel (originally made of horn) for holding ink," from ink (n.) + horn (n.). Used attributively as an adjective for things (especially vocabulary) supposed to be beloved by scribblers and bookworms (1540s). An Old English word for the thing was blæchorn.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper