hor·​net ˈhȯr-nət How to pronounce hornet (audio)
plural hornets
: any of the larger vespid wasps (genus Vespa) that usually build large papery nests in shrubs and trees see also european hornet, northern giant hornet, yellow-legged hornet compare bald-faced hornet

Examples of hornet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On a recent Saturday night, the Porch Bar was buzzing like a hive of hornets, and there was a line down the block of patrons waiting to get into the underwear party. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Aug. 2023 Next door is a vacant home where rats, mice, roaches, nests of hornets, feral cats and a family of raccoons live. Giacomo Bologna, Baltimore Sun, 22 Aug. 2023 Large displays often cause a hornet to flee, for example. Victoria Sayo Turner, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Sep. 2023 Unlike the biting, stinging pests such as hornets, wasps, snakes, and ticks that hunters encounter mostly while outdoors, spiders are just as likely to be found indoors, in our homes and hunting camps. Steven Hill, Field & Stream, 25 Oct. 2023 The hornet had long been identified by entomologists as having a high potential to invade the U.S. as well. Drew Kann, ajc, 15 Aug. 2023 The Asian honey bee has several defenses against hornet hive attacks. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 17 Feb. 2023 The Nittany Lions ran into a similar hornet’s nest last year. Steve Stein, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2023 Rowe said regular hornet nests have circular openings near the bottom. Cole Sikes Communications and Marketing Specialist Alabama Cooperative Extension System, al, 16 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hornet.' 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 hernet, from Old English hyrnet; akin to Old High German hornaz hornet, Latin crabro

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near hornet

Cite this Entry

“Hornet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornet. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


hor·​net ˈhȯr-nət How to pronounce hornet (audio)
: any of the larger wasps that live in colonies

More from Merriam-Webster on hornet

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