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Cape Horn

a headland on a small island at the S extremity of South America: belongs to Chile.


[hawrn] /hɔrn/
Cape. Cape Horn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for cape-horn

Cape Horn

a rocky headland on an island at the extreme S tip of South America, belonging to Chile. It is notorious for gales and heavy seas; until the building of the Panama Canal it lay on the only sea route between the Atlantic and the Pacific Also called the Horn


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
  1. the constituent substance, mainly keratin, of horns, hooves, etc
  2. (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
  1. a device for producing a warning or signalling noise
  2. (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
  1. 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
  2. any such device used to spread or focus sound, such as the device attached to an electrical loudspeaker in a public address system
  3. 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
  1. to suppress or control one's feelings, esp of anger, enthusiasm, or passion
  2. to withdraw a previous statement
  3. to economize
on the horns of a dilemma
  1. in a situation involving a choice between two equally unpalatable alternatives
  2. in an awkward situation
verb (transitive)
to provide with a horn or horns
to gore or butt with a horn
See also horn in
Derived Forms
hornless, adjective
hornlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Norse horn, Gothic haurn, Latin cornu horn


Cape, See Cape Horn
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
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Word Origin and History for cape-horn



Old English horn "horn of an animal," also "wind instrument" (originally made from animal horns), from Proto-Germanic *hurnaz (cf. German Horn, Dutch horen, Gothic haurn), from PIE *ker- "horn; head, uppermost part of the body," with derivatives refering to horned animals, horn-shaped objects and projecting parts (cf. Greek karnon "horn," Latin cornu "horn," Sanskrit srngam "horn," Persian sar "head," Avestan sarah- "head," Greek koryphe "head," Latin cervus "deer," Welsh carw "deer"). Reference to car horns is first recorded 1901. Figurative senses of Latin cornu included "salient point, chief argument; wing, flank; power, courage, strength." Jazz slang sense of "trumpet" is by 1921. Meaning "telephone" is by 1945.


1690s, "to furnish with horns," from horn (n.). Earlier in figurative sense of "to cuckold" (1540s). Meaning "to push with the horns" (of cattle, buffalo, etc.) is from 1851, American English; phrase horn in "intrude" is by 1880, American English, originally cowboy slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cape-horn in Medicine

horn (hôrn)

  1. One of the hard, usually permanent structures projecting from the head of certain mammals, such as cattle, consisting of a bony core covered with a sheath of keratinous material.

  2. A hard protuberance that is similar to or suggestive of a horn.

  3. The hard, smooth keratinous material forming the outer covering of animal horns.

  4. Any of the major subdivisions of the lateral ventricle in the cerebral hemisphere of the brain: the frontal horn, occipital horn, and temporal horn. Also called cornu.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cape-horn in Science
  1. Either of the bony growths projecting from the upper part of the head of certain hoofed mammals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. The horns of these animals are never shed, and they consist of bone covered by keratin.

  2. A hard growth that looks like a horn, such as an antler or a growth on the head of a giraffe or rhinoceros. Unlike true horns, antlers are shed yearly and have a velvety covering, and the horns of a rhinoceros are made not of bone but of hairy skin fused with keratin.

  3. The hard durable substance that forms the outer covering of true horns. It consists of keratin.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for cape-horn



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

Related Terms

grunt-horn, like shit through a tin horn, tinhorn, toot one's own horn

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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cape-horn in the Bible

Trumpets were at first horns perforated at the tip, used for various purposes (Josh. 6:4,5). Flasks or vessels were made of horn (1 Sam. 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39). But the word is used also metaphorically to denote the projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings (Ex. 27:2) and of incense (30:2). The horns of the altar of burnt offerings were to be smeared with the blood of the slain bullock (29:12; Lev. 4:7-18). The criminal, when his crime was accidental, found an asylum by laying hold of the horns of the altar (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28). The word also denotes the peak or summit of a hill (Isa. 5:1, where the word "hill" is the rendering of the same Hebrew word). This word is used metaphorically also for strength (Deut. 33:17) and honour (Job 16:15; Lam. 2:3). Horns are emblems of power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, as they are the chief means of attack and defence with the animals endowed with them (Dan. 8:5, 9; 1 Sam. 2:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39; 22:11; Josh. 6:4, 5; Ps. 75:5, 10; 132:17; Luke 1:69, etc.). The expression "horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a salvation of strength, or a strong Saviour (Luke 1:69). To have the horn "exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Ps. 89:17, 24). To "lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zech. 1:21). Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power (Jer. 48:25; Zech. 1:18; Dan. 8:24).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with cape-horn


In addition to the idioms beginning with horn
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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