follow Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is...

hornbook

[hawrn-boo k] /ˈhɔrnˌbʊk/
noun
1.
a leaf or page containing the alphabet, religious materials, etc., covered with a sheet of transparent horn and fixed in a frame with a handle, formerly used in teaching children to read.
2.
a primer or book of rudiments.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; horn + book
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for horn-book

hornbook

/ˈhɔːnˌbʊk/
noun
1.
a page bearing a religious text or the alphabet, held in a frame with a thin window of flattened cattle horn over it
2.
any elementary primer
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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for horn-book

hornbook

form of children's primer common in both England and America from the late 16th to the late 18th century. A sheet containing the letters of the alphabet was mounted on a wooden frame and protected with thin, transparent plates of horn. The frame was shaped like a table-tennis paddle, had a handle, and was usually hung at the child's belt. The earliest sheets were of vellum; later they were of paper. They contained first a large cross, from which the hornbook was called the Christ's Cross row, or crisscross row. The alphabet in large and small letters followed. The vowels then formed a line, and their combinations with the consonants were given in a tabular form. The usual blessing-"In the name of the Father and of the Sonne and of the Holy Ghost, Amen"-followed, then the Lord's Prayer, the whole concluding with the Roman numerals

Learn more about hornbook with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for horn

7
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with horn-book