hornbook

[hawrn-book]
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:
1580–90; horn + book

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hornbook (ˈhɔːnˌbʊk)
 
n
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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It is hornbook law that a contract is an agreement between two or more parties.
It is hornbook law that limitations periods are customarily subject to equitable tolling.
Indeed, hornbook law stresses the necessity of including the alleged defamatory statement in the complaint.
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