/hawrn"book'/, n.
1. a leaf or page containing the alphabet, religious materials, etc., covered with a sheet of transparent horn and fixed in a frame with a handle, formerly used in teaching children to read.
2. a primer or book of rudiments.
[1580-90; HORN + BOOK]

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      form of children's primer common in both England and America from the late 16th to the late 18th century. A sheet containing the letters of the alphabet was mounted on a wooden frame and protected with thin, transparent plates of horn. The frame was shaped like a table-tennis paddle, had a handle, and was usually hung at the child's belt. The earliest sheets were of vellum; later they were of paper. They contained first a large cross, from which the hornbook was called the Christ's Cross row, or crisscross row. The alphabet in large and small letters followed. The vowels then formed a line, and their combinations with the consonants were given in a tabular form. The usual blessing—“In the name of the Father and of the Sonne and of the Holy Ghost, Amen”—followed, then the Lord's Prayer, the whole concluding with the Roman numerals.

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Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hornbook — Horn book , n. 1. The first book for children, or that from which in former times they learned their letters and rudiments; so called because a sheet of horn covered the small, thin board of oak, or the slip of paper, on which the alphabet,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • hornbook — noun Date: circa 1595 1. a child s primer consisting of a sheet of parchment or paper protected by a sheet of transparent horn 2. a rudimentary treatise …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hornbook — Synonyms and related words: abecedarium, abecedary, alphabet, alphabet book, and arithmetic, basics, battledore, casebook, elementary education, elements, exercise book, first principles, first steps, gradus, grammar, induction, initiation,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • HORNBOOK —    was a sheet of vellum or paper used in early times for teaching the rudiments of education, on which were inscribed the alphabet in black or Roman letters, some monosyllables, the Lord s Prayer, and the Roman numerals; this sheet was covered… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • hornbook — n. page containing the alphabet and protected with a translucent piece of horn (formerly used to teach children to read); beginner s textbook, primer (for learning to read) …   English contemporary dictionary

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