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Word of the Day
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Definitions for inkhorn

  1. Affectedly or ostentatiously learned; pedantic.
  2. A small bottle of horn or other material formerly used for holding ink.

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Citations for inkhorn
. . .the widespread use of what were called (dismissively, by truly learned folk) "inkhorn terms." Simon Winchester, The Atlantic Monthly
In prison he wrote the De Consolatione Philosophiae, his most celebrated work and one of the most translated works in history; it was translated . . . by Elizabeth I into florid, inkhorn language. , The Oxford Companion to English Literature, s.v. "Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (c. 475 - 525)."
Origin of inkhorn
Inkhorn derives from the name for the container formerly used (beginning in the 14th century) for holding ink, originally made from a real horn. Hence it came to refer to words that were being used by learned writers and scholars but which were unknown or rare in ordinary speech.