hor·​net | \ ˈhȯr-nət How to pronounce hornet (audio) \
plural hornets

Definition of hornet

: any of the larger vespid wasps (genus Vespa) that usually build large papery nests in shrubs and trees — see also asian giant hornet, asian hornet, european hornet — compare bald-faced hornet

Examples of hornet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The new Asian hornets that have been found in Washington state may be deadly to honeybees, but bug experts say the Asian giant hornet is not a big threat to people. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Yikes! It’s ‘Attack of the Murder Hornets’ — a real-life chiller by a former Utah child actor," 19 Feb. 2021 The Asian giant hornet is yet another unwelcome threat for honeybees in the U.S., whose population has been besieged by problems like mites, pesticides, disease and loss of food. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "First ‘murder hornet’ nest was just eradicated in Washington state. Could they fly to California next?," 25 Oct. 2020 Male platypuses have poisonous spurs that can cause as much pain as hundreds of hornet stings. Animals, "Platypuses are increasingly threatened, scientists say," 30 Dec. 2020 Mattila suspects there's something in the dung that repels the hornet. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Giant hornets on the attack? Try a little water buffalo poop," 9 Dec. 2020 The first Asian giant hornet was found in the state a year ago and the first was trapped in July. Fox News, "Over 500 'murder hornets' were found in Washington nest, including nearly 200 queens," 11 Nov. 2020 But horseflies pack the biggest wallop, often drawing a wheal worthy of a hornet. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "Three Reasons to Bring a Screen Canopy Camping," 4 Dec. 2020 It's been a tumultuous year with a worldwide pandemic, a record number of hurricanes and wildfires and the arrival of the dangerous murder hornet in North America. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Will it be snowy this winter? We looked for signs in nature to predict the weather ahead," 11 Nov. 2020 As the name suggests, the hornet is an invasive species found primarily in eastern and southeastern Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "First ‘murder hornet’ nest was just eradicated in Washington state. Could they fly to California next?," 25 Oct. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of hornet

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hornet

Middle English hernet, from Old English hyrnet; akin to Old High German hornaz hornet, Latin crabro

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hornet

Time Traveler for hornet

Time Traveler

The first known use of hornet was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for hornet

Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hornet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornet. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hornet



English Language Learners Definition of hornet

: a flying insect that has a powerful sting


hor·​net | \ ˈhȯr-nət How to pronounce hornet (audio) \

Kids Definition of hornet

: a large wasp that can give a severe sting

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hornet

Nglish: Translation of hornet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hornet for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hornet

Comments on hornet

What made you want to look up hornet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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