Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various large stinging wasps of the family Vespidae, chiefly of the genera Vespa and Vespula, that characteristically build large papery nests.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large wasp, of the genus Vespa, with a brown and yellow striped body and capable of inflicting a serious sting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large, strong wasp. The European species (Vespa crabro) is of a dark brown and yellow color. It is very pugnacious, and its sting is very severe. Its nest is constructed of a paperlike material, and the layers of comb are hung together by columns. The American white-faced hornet (Vespa maculata) is larger and has similar habits.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An insect of the wasp family, of the genus Vespa, much larger and stronger than wasps of other species, and capable of inflicting a more severe and painful sting.
  • n. Figuratively, a person who annoys by frequent and persistent petty attacks.

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

  • n. large stinging paper wasp

Etymologies

Middle English hornet, alteration (probably influenced by horn, horn) of hernet, from Old English hyrnet.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English hernet, from Old English hyrnetu, hyrnete, from Proto-Germanic *hurznutō (compare German Hornisse), alteration of Proto-Germanic *hurzulōn (compare Dutch horzel), from Proto-Indo-European *k̑érh₂sr- (compare Welsh creyryn 'wasp', Latin crābrō 'hornet', Tocharian kronše 'bee', Lithuanian širšė 'wasp', Old Church Slavonic сръшень (srŭšenĭ) 'hornet', Albanian grerë, grenzë 'wasp, hornet'). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • “The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Designed in the 1970s for service with the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations.�? More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008