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one of the bony, permanent, hollow paired growths, often curved and pointed, that project from the upper part of the head of certain ungulate mammals, as cattle, sheep, goats, or antelopes.
a similar growth, sometimes of hair, as the median horn or horns on the snout of the rhinoceros, or the tusk of the narwhal.
a process projecting from the head of an animal and suggestive of such a growth, as a feeler, tentacle, or crest.
the bony substance of which such animal growths are composed.
any similar substance, as that forming tortoise shell, hoofs, nails, or corns.
an article made of the material of an animal horn or like substance, as a thimble, spoon, or shoehorn.
any projection or extremity resembling the horn of an animal.
something resembling or suggesting an animal horn:
a drinking horn.
a part resembling an animal horn attributed to deities, demons, etc.:
the devil’s horn.
Usually, horns. the imaginary projections on a cuckold’s brow.

a wind instrument, originally formed from the hollow horn of an animal but now usually made of brass or other metal or plastic.
French horn.

something used as or resembling such a wind instrument.
Slang. a trumpet.
an instrument for sounding a warning signal:
an automobile horn.
Aeronautics. any of certain short, armlike levers on the control surfaces of an airplane.

a tube of varying cross section used in some loudspeakers to couple the diaphragm to the sound-transmitting space.
Slang. a loudspeaker.

Slang. a telephone or radiotelephone:
I’ve been on the horn all morning.
the high protuberant part at the front and top of certain saddles; a pommel, especially a high one.
Carpentry. (in a door or window frame) that part of a jamb extending above the head.
one of the curved extremities of a crescent, especially of the crescent moon.
a crescent-shaped tract of land.
a pyramidal mountain peak, especially one having concave faces carved by glaciation.
a symbol of power or strength, as in the Bible:
a horn of salvation.
each of the alternatives of a dilemma.
the narrow, more pointed part of an anvil.
ear tuft.
Metalworking. a projection at the side of the end of a rolled sheet or strip, caused by unevenness of the roll due to wear.
Horology. (in a lever escapement) either of the two prongs at the end of the lever fork guarding against overbanking when the guard pin is in the crescent.
to cuckold.
to butt or gore with the horns.
Shipbuilding. to set up (a frame or bulkhead of a vessel being built) at a proper angle to the keel with due regard to the inclination of the keel on the ways; plumb.
made of horn.
blow / toot one’s own horn, Informal. to publicize or boast about one’s abilities or achievements:
He’s a bright fellow, but likes to blow his own horn too much.
draw / pull in one’s horns, to restrain oneself or become less belligerent; retreat:
Since he lost so much gambling, he’s drawn in his horns a bit.
horn in, Informal. to thrust oneself forward obtrusively; intrude or interrupt:
Every time we try to have a private conversation, the boss horns in.
lock horns, to conflict, quarrel, or disagree:
The administration and the staff locked horns over the proposed measures.
on the horns of a dilemma, confronted with two equally disagreeable choices.
Cape. Cape Horn.
Contemporary Examples

What African Girls Fear More Than Drought Anne Hathaway, Maria Eitel August 23, 2011
Elliott Abrams’s Truth Problem Ali Gharib January 8, 2013
How Lincoln Emancipated the Jews Celia McGee April 6, 2009
The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for October 6, 2012 David Sessions October 5, 2012
Ferguson Protesters Harass Black Police, Call for Darren Wilson’s Death Justin Glawe November 20, 2014

Historical Examples

Master Reynard Jane Fielding
The Dream Emile Zola
The Lady of the Shroud Bram Stoker
Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
King Matthias and the Beggar Boy Nicholas Jsika

either of a pair of permanent outgrowths on the heads of cattle, antelopes, sheep, etc, consisting of a central bony core covered with layers of keratin related adjectives corneous keratoid
the outgrowth from the nasal bone of a rhinoceros, consisting of a mass of fused hairs
any hornlike projection or process, such as the eyestalk of a snail
the antler of a deer

the constituent substance, mainly keratin, of horns, hooves, etc
(in combination): horn-rimmed spectacles

a container or device made from this substance or an artificial substitute: a shoe horn, a drinking horn
an object or part resembling a horn in shape, such as the points at either end of a crescent, the point of an anvil, the pommel of a saddle, or a cornucopia
a primitive musical wind instrument made from the horn of an animal
any musical instrument consisting of a pipe or tube of brass fitted with a mouthpiece, with or without valves See hunting horn, French horn, cor anglais
(jazz, slang) any wind instrument

a device for producing a warning or signalling noise
(in combination): a foghorn

(usually pl) the hornlike projection attributed to certain devils, deities, etc
(usually pl) the imaginary hornlike parts formerly supposed to appear on the forehead of a cuckold
Also called horn balance. an extension of an aircraft control surface that projects in front of the hinge providing aerodynamic assistance in moving the control

Also called acoustic horn, exponential horn. a hollow conical device coupled to the diaphragm of a gramophone to control the direction and quality of the sound
any such device used to spread or focus sound, such as the device attached to an electrical loudspeaker in a public address system
Also called horn antenna. a microwave aerial, formed by flaring out the end of a waveguide

(geology) another name for pyramidal peak
a stretch of land or water shaped like a horn
(Brit, slang) an erection of the penis
(Bible) a symbol of power, victory, or success: in my name shall his horn be exalted
(US & Canadian) blow one’s horn, to boast about oneself; brag Brit equivalent blow one’s own trumpet
draw in one’s horns, pull in one’s horns

to suppress or control one’s feelings, esp of anger, enthusiasm, or passion
to withdraw a previous statement
to economize

on the horns of a dilemma

in a situation involving a choice between two equally unpalatable alternatives
in an awkward situation

verb (transitive)
to provide with a horn or horns
to gore or butt with a horn
Cape, See Cape Horn


Any wind instrument (1940s+ Jazz musicians)
The trumpet (1900+ Jazz musicians)
A penile erection; hard-on: I could have beat up five guys with the horn I had on (1785+)
The telephone: I get straight on the horn to Eckert (1940s+)

In addition to the idioms beginning with horn
horn in on


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