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hornet

[hawr-nit] /ˈhɔr nɪt/
noun
1.
any large, stinging paper wasp of the family Vespidae, as Vespa crabro (giant hornet) introduced into the U.S. from Europe, or Vespula maculata (bald-faced hornet or white-faced hornet) of North America.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English harnete, Old English hyrnet(u); cognate with Old High German hornaz (> German Horniss); akin to horn
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hornet
  • As it does so, a hornet's nest of trouble will be found.
  • But the willow-wren sent down the hornet, with orders to get beneath the fox's tail, and sting it with all his might.
  • Prising open the lid on previous mistakes might unleash a political hornet-swarm.
  • It's a hornet's nest up in the attic whose noise can be safely ignored.
  • Of course, who knows when that hornet's nest will come up for a vote.
  • Large gray nests of the bald faced hornet are familiar from their frequent use in natural history displays.
  • Don't let children throw rocks at paper wasp or hornet nests.
  • Last year two empty hornet's nests were removed from trees behind the library.
  • The prairie dog sickened at the sting of the hornet or a diplomatic puppet.
British Dictionary definitions for hornet

hornet

/ˈhɔːnɪt/
noun
1.
any of various large social wasps of the family Vespidae, esp Vespa crabro of Europe, that can inflict a severe sting
2.
hornet's nest, a strongly unfavourable reaction (often in the phrase stir up a hornet's nest)
Word Origin
Old English hyrnetu; related to Old Saxon hornut, Old High German hornuz
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 hornet
n.

Old English hyrnet, hurnitu "large wasp, beetle," probably from Proto-Germanic *hurz-nut- (cf. Old Saxon hornut, Middle Dutch huersel, Dutch horzel, Old High German hornaz, German Hornisse "hornet"), from PIE imitative (buzzing) root *krs-, as preserved in Old Church Slavonic srusa, Lithuanian szirszu "wasp." On this theory, the English word (as well as German Hornisse) was altered by influence of horn, to suggest either "horner" (from the sting) or "horn-blower" (from the buzz). Cf. also Old Saxon hornobero "hornet," literally "trumpeter."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hornet in the Bible

Heb. tsir'ah, "stinging", (Ex. 23:28; Deut. 7:20; Josh. 24:12). The word is used in these passages as referring to some means by which the Canaanites were to be driven out from before the Israelites. Some have supposed that the word is used in a metaphorical sense as the symbol of some panic which would seize the people as a "terror of God" (Gen. 35:5), the consternation with which God would inspire the Canaanites. In Palestine there are four species of hornets, differing from our hornets, being larger in size, and they are very abundant. They "attack human beings in a very furious manner." "The furious attack of a swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness, and has even caused the death of the animals."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with hornet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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