from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various trees of the genus Carpinus, having smooth grayish bark and hard whitish wood.
  • n. The wood of one of these trees.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tree of the genus Carpinus, having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard, common along the banks of streams in the United States.
  • n. A hop hornbeam.
  • n. The wood of these trees.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A tree of the genus Carpinus (Carpinus Americana), having a smooth gray bark and a ridged trunk, the wood being white and very hard. It is common along the banks of streams in the United States, and is also called ironwood. The English hornbeam is Carpinus Betulus. The American is called also blue beech and water beech.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small tree belonging to the genus Carpinus, of the natural order Cupuliferæ.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of several trees or shrubs of the genus Carpinus


c. 1570, from Old English horn + beam ("tree") (Wiktionary)


  • The repetition of boxwood, yew and hornbeam—stalwarts of the French garden—creates an overall harmony, a symphony in green.

    Stately French Gardens

  • As my patient husband remarked recently, "I understand now: box, yew, hornbeam and more box, yew and hornbeam."

    That Garden Je Ne Sais Quoi

  • Charlotte Moss This window in a hornbeam hedge at d'Orsan provides a view of the enfilade of outdoor rooms.

    Stately French Gardens

  • The first frost had come and the colour was already in the hornbeam as I gathered up a clump of bulbs to bring with me to my new home in Somerset and, weather permitting, I expect to have them in flower until the end of the month.

    Gardens: The late, late, show… by the nerines

  • We were looking for hardhack, the local name for hop hornbeam, a heavy, dense hardwood that wears extremely well and is, according to Mr. Owens, the very best material from which to make a jumper.

    The Dirty Life

  • Starlings flitter in the branches of the dead hornbeam by the fence.

    hayden carruth | silence & prepare « poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground

  • Then Cicero and I rose early one morning, while the rest of the household was asleep, and took it into the nearby woods and buried it between a hornbeam and an ash.


  • The foundation of the arches was fashioned in 1993, and it took several years for the hornbeam to cover them.

    Paradise Regained

  • Photograph by Alexandre Bailhache Pleached hornbeam arches and chestnut pergolas create verdant alleys connecting one garden room to the next and provide shaded, secluded walks.

    Paradise Regained

  • Photograph by Alexandre Bailhache Shown here in autumn, the Prieur é is surrounded by arched hornbeam hedges.

    Paradise Regained


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  • "Panting, sweating, covered with crumbled leaves and with my stockings in rags, I curled up under a big hornbeam, and burrowed back under the blanket. Thus concealed, I had a try at undoing the knots in the rope around my wrists...."
    —Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005), 215

    January 31, 2010