horn·​beam ˈhȯrn-ˌbēm How to pronounce hornbeam (audio)
: any of a genus (Carpinus) of trees of the birch family having smooth gray bark and hard white wood

Examples of hornbeam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The affable, knowledgeable Monty Don is the ringmaster of most of the episodes from his garden in Herefordshire, England, surrounded by hornbeam hedges and earnestly trailed by his beloved dogs, Nell, Ned, and Patti. Stephen Orr, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Aug. 2023 As a result, the composition of the forest’s tree community shifted; flood-tolerating oak and hornbeam trees, once the dominant species, gave way to trees that fared better in drier conditions, like the sycamore and common ash. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 26 Apr. 2019 Above: At his Virginia home, landscape architect Thomas Woltz placed a marble sculpture among hydrangeas, hornbeam hedges, and serviceberry trees. Tim McKeough, ELLE Decor, 5 Apr. 2023 Nuxe Men Nuxellence anti-aging fluid is all about recreating our youthful and energetic skin through the use of oak, hornbeam, passionflower and hyaluronic acid. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 May 2022 After monitoring the region for several years, the group noticed that oak and hornbeam trees started reappearing in greater numbers, as did some water-loving critters, like certain species of slugs and beetles. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 26 Apr. 2019 Now there are stretches where the trees close in above you, such as the segment above Fremont Street where strawberry trees with their smooth orangey trunks reach over the walkway and meet the European hornbeam across the way. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Sep. 2022 Take the Hornbeam Trail, interspersed with the American hornbeam, a distinctive tree also called the musclewood — so named because the bark resembles rippling muscles. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2022 Donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation, the tree species includes silky dogwood, American hop, hornbeam and gray dogwood. cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hornbeam.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English hernbem, from hern- (of uncertain meaning and origin) + bem "tree" — more at beam entry 1

Note: The tree name hornbeam is generally taken to be a compound of horn and the etymon represented by Modern English beam entry 1, which in Old English and early Middle English could mean "tree." However, the scant Middle English attestation—a single occurrence of the word in Chancery inquisitions as hernbem, and forms of the Hertfordshire place name Hornbeam Lane (Herinbemegatestret, Hernebemgate)—suggest that horn may have been a folk etymology from an earlier word.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hornbeam was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near hornbeam

Cite this Entry

“Hornbeam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornbeam. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


horn·​beam -ˌbēm How to pronounce hornbeam (audio)
: any of a genus of trees related to the birches and having smooth gray bark and hard white wood

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