horn·​bill ˈhȯrn-ˌbil How to pronounce hornbill (audio)
: any of a family (Bucerotidae) of large nonpasserine birds of Africa and Eurasia having enormous bills

Illustration of hornbill

Illustration of hornbill

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The opportunity to get bitten by a ground hornbill presented itself to me... Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 2 July 2011 According to Malaysian legend, hornbill spoons and buttons would change color in the presence of poison. Discover Magazine, 13 Nov. 2013 Jürgen Hooper also impressively multitasks as actor and puppeteer playing Zazu, the hornbill bird who is Mafa’s chief of staff. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022 The habitats of species like the great hornbill and the Indian spotted eagle – already in global decline – have come under increasing threat in the region due to highway traffic, construction, logging, poaching, and hunting. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 May 2022 In Sagaing Division, in the foothills of the Himalayas, a man from the Naga ethnic group wearing a fur hat garnished with hornbill feathers and boar tusks raised his arm in a defiant salute. Hannah Beech, BostonGlobe.com, 7 Feb. 2021 The male helmeted hornbill finished his parenting duties alone. Yao-hua Law, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2020 Delhiites are now spotting rare birds like gray hornbills and red-throated flycatchers. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, 21 Apr. 2020 The two seem to be hitting it off already, the zoo said, spending a lot of time together on Kiden’s first day in the enclosure, an area that also includes Speke’s gazelle and southern ground hornbills. oregonlive, 13 May 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hornbill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hornbill was in 1773

Dictionary Entries Near hornbill

Cite this Entry

“Hornbill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornbill. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


horn·​bill -ˌbil How to pronounce hornbill (audio)
: any of a family of large Old World birds having enormous bills

More from Merriam-Webster on hornbill

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?