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

Examples of hornbill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chinese traders are already advertising the tusk of the hornbill, an iconic Asian bird, as a poor man’s alternative to the rhino horn. Vanda Felbab-Brown, Foreign Affairs, 9 Oct. 2018 Rhinos, elephants and helmeted hornbills are all valuable creatures, traded from Africa and Indonesia to Asia by criminal networks that exploit weak local institutions. Erik Vance, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2017 From jackals to hornbills, many grassland animals form a deep bond with their partner By Devin Farmiloe The Lion King got one thing right: love is in the air on the savanna. Devin Farmiloe, Scientific American, 14 Feb. 2024 An Asian exhibit in the birdhouse includes hornbills and Bali mynahs. Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Other animals: Giraffe, alpaca, dromedary camel, Bactrian camel, hyena, porcupine, prairie dogs, hornbill birds, curassow birds, capybara, lion, horses, Grévy’s zebra, Indian rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, llama, anoa, African buffalo, bontebok and cassowary. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2023 Once a sun bear opens a hole in a tree, other animals might move in and make a nest, such as flying squirrels or hornbills. 4. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Aug. 2023 The helmeted hornbill, a bird native to Southeast Asia, for example, is captured mainly for the pet trade, or for its beak to be used as medicine or to be carved like ivory. Emily Harwitz, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2023 That’s much further than virtually all other seed-carrying animals, save for the Asian elephant or the African hornbill. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 22 Mar. 2011

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

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 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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