Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[hawrn-beem] /ˈhɔrnˌbim/
any North American shrub or tree belonging to the genus Carpinus, of the birch family, yielding a hard, heavy wood, as C. caroliniana (American hornbeam)
1570-80; horn + beam Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hornbeam
  • Water oak and hop hornbeam are found in low areas and uplands.
British Dictionary definitions for hornbeam


any tree of the betulaceous genus Carpinus, such as C. betulus of Europe and Asia, having smooth grey bark and hard white wood
the wood of any of these trees
Brit equivalent ironwood
Word Origin
C14: from horn + beam, referring to its tough wood
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
Word Origin and History for hornbeam

1570s, from horn (n.) + beam (n.), preserving the original sense of the latter word; so called in reference to its hard wood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for hornbeam

any of about 25 species of hardy, slow-growing ornamental and timber trees constituting the genus Carpinus of the birch family (Betulaceae), distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The hop-hornbeam (q.v.) is in a different genus of the birch family. A hornbeam has smooth, grayish bark, a short, fluted trunk, and horizontally spreading branches. It differs from other trees in the birch family in that male catkins are not formed until the spring in which they mature. A leaflike, three-lobed husk surrounds each fruit, a nutlet about 1 cm (12 inch) long. The egg- or lance-shaped alternate leaves may remain on the tree into winter.

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hornbeam

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hornbeam

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with hornbeam