Green’s Dictionary of Slang

horn n.2

[resemblance to an SE horn]

1. in sexual contexts.

(a) the penis.

[UK]Shakespeare Taming of the Shrew IV i: curt.: Away, you three-inch fool! I am no beast. gru.: Am I but three inches? why, thy horn is a foot; and so long am I at the least.
[UK] ‘A Mans Yard’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 10: It is a grafte Horne on a pretty head, / A staffe to make a Countess bedd.
in J. Adlard Fruit of That Forbidden Tree (1975) 62: Hark how my merry horn doth blow / Too high, too low.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 16: In a Town where there had been a remarkable Slaughter of Maidenheads, and as great a Propagation of Horns.
[Scot]Order of the Beggar's Benison and Merryland (1892) 70: To keep the horn not overworn/ Let sad December warn us.
[[UK] Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 46: A column of the whitest ivory, beautifully streak’d with blue veins [...] No horn could be harder, or stiffer; yet no velvet more smooth or delicious to the touch].
[UK] ‘Peggy’s Triumph’ in Lummy Chaunter 88: The French Horns to gain Peggy, plaudits tried next, / But she, through their bungling performance much vex’d, / Declar’d, that all wives should cornute those men, / Who make such long rests, or pop in now and then.
[UK] ‘Toasts And Sentiments’ in Nobby Songster 47: May our horn always be in the que [sic] for c---.
[UK]Cythera’s Hymnal [as 1732].
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 13 Sept. 2/4: ‘Now, butcher, I want some meat, and give it to me good [...] don’t give me the neck.’ [...] ‘Mind, Miss P., that he don’t give you the horns and hoofs’.
[US]Big Bull ‘Bull Cow Blues’ 🎵 Long as your right arm / Lord if you play with my horn baby / Make you break up your happy home.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 40: Right beneath the petticoat I blowed her with my horn.
[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 104: The noun horn means penis.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene iii: ’Aving trouble with yer ’orn?
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 209: A bulge in his fly where the randy old horn hadn’t quite subsided.
[US] in R.G. Reisner Graffiti 108: Young bucks with short horns, step up close.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 52: Trying to figure out how he’s gonna get his horn up the ass of that cute little eighteen-year-old bank robber.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 299: D’ye like ridin’, Homer? I’d say y’do. I’d say y’do, all right. I’d say y’ve a horn on yeh like a rhino, Homer, do yeh?
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 84: Then she carried on blowing Mincey’s cheesy horn.
[UK]R. Milward Kimberly’s Capital Punishment (2023) 138: What he wanted to talk about did have horns — but only the type of horn you keep in your trousers.

(b) sexual excitement or lust; also in fig. use, affection.

[UK]Congreve Love for Love V i: She’s mad for a husband, and he’s horn mad, I think, or they’d ne’er make a match together.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy V 72: But ’tis without reason, for he that is born, / Under such a Planet, is Heir to the Horn.
[UK] ‘Nursery Rhymes’ in Pearl 4 Oct. 32: E’en a boy’s white, fat bum / Could not make him come, / But an old man’s piles gave him the horn.
[UK]‘Experiences of a Cunt Philosopher’ in Randiana 83: The excitement of a ‘horn’ which I now had the satisfaction of knowing could be relieved without quitting the mansion.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 25: Avoir vent en poupe = to be sexually excited; ‘to have the horn’.
[UK]G.R. Bacchus Pleasure Bound ‘Afloat’ (1969) 231: He tried to sleep — well, when he had overcome his Horn [...] he did.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 256: Come on to blazes, said Blazes Boylan, going. Lenehan gulped to go. – Got the horn or what? he said.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 22 Aug. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 107: Mastigophily is I suppose whiploving [...] That is the sight of a whip gives you the horn.
[Aus]‘Beaufort’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 30: The Beaufighters say that we give them the horn.
[UK]K. Amis letter 27 Feb. in Leader (2000) 271: Maupassant could get the horn at will.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 144: How many poor sods have died of the horn up here, Jane?
[US]Maledicta IX 144: Or perhaps they work out of an escort service or male call-house (bullring camp, hardware shop, the latter emphasizing the necessary horn, U.S. hard-on).
[UK]Guardian Media 1 Nov. 3: The DJ most likely to give you the horn.
[Ire]P. Howard Teenage Dirtbag Years 13: Blonde hair, amazing bod [...] we’re talking perma-horn material.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘Call an escort if you’ve got the horn’.
[Ire]K. Barry ‘Fjord of Killary’ in New Yorker 24 Jan. 🌐 ‘She still excites me [...] It’s been twenty-eight years, and I still get a horn on me when I see that bitch climb a stairs’.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 251: Sets up the horn at the base ay the baws, always as good sign.
[Ire]L. McInerney Blood Miracles 93: ‘Dan has some sort of horn for you I’ve never understood, boy. So maybe he can’t bring himself to suspect you’.
[Ire]L. McInerney Rules of Revelation 170: ‘My cousin has the horn for shit like that [i.e. historical minutiae]’.

(c) (US) a womanizer; a sexual athlete.

[US]Gleaner (Manchester, NH) 1 July n.p.: This covey in company with another horn [...] says let me cross over [...] the street and kiss that woman.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

(d) an erection.

[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 7: Affiler le bandage. To have an erectio penis; ‘to get the horn’.
[UK]‘Ramrod’ Nocturnal Meeting 77: I had got a gigantic horn again.
[Ire]Joyce letter to Nora Barnacle 3 Dec. in Ellman Sel. Letters (1976) 182: Perhaps the horn I had was not big enough for you for I remember that you [...] murmured tenderly ‘Fuck up, love! Fuck up, love!’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 525: Haw, haw, have you the horn?
[UK] ‘She Went for a Ride in a Morgan’ in ‘Count P. Vicarion’ Bawdy Ballads XXXVI: There wasn’t a prick she would scorn, / She gave every man an erection: / The more vulgar-minded say ‘horn’.
[UK]J. Orton Diaries (1986) 24 Mar. 123: Tills became amorous again. [...] I got the horn.
[UK](con. 1950s) Nicholson & Smith Spend, Spend, Spend (1978) 44: Oh, I’m getting a horn on just thinking about what I could do to you.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 61: Les took one bite and nearly got a horn.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 41: But on that Resurrection morn, (3) / The dirty old bugger still got a horn.
[Ire](con. 1970) G. Moxley Danti-Dan in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) I iv: I have an awful horn on me.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] Mr Wobbly was screaming in his ear and he had a horn that hard you could have cracked walnuts on it; and Les had to go off.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 92: Orny as fuck, mun, I yam, been on-a fuckin billy all dey like an that ulweys gives me-a orn.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] Les had a horn that hard you could have shattered roof tiles on it.
[Ire]P Howard Braywatch 158: I’ve suddenly got a horn on me like a wok handle.

2. (US) a drink [SE horn, a form of drinking vessel].

[UK]J. Wetherell Adventures of John Wetherell (1954) 258: We [...] took [...] a stiff horn of Cogniac.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 140: Let us fortify our stomachs with a slice or two of hung beef, and a horn or so of humming stingo!
[US]A. Greene Life and Adventures of Dr Dodimus Duckworth II 175: He had not even the excuse of drinking in good company, to say nothing of sleigh-rides [...] and such like occasions for taking an extra horn.
[US]W.E. Burton Waggeries and Vagaries 17: Here’s jest a leetle horn a piece in the bottle – let’s licker one more round.
[US]N.O. Weekly Delta 23 Nov. p.1 in A.P. Hudson Humor of the Old Deep South (1936) n.p.: We adjourned over to the nearest dead-fall, tuck a whoppin’ horn of Ball Face.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 221: He wanted a ho’n bad.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 299: ‘Everything about the place is bad, excepting this brandy,’ I added, seizing the decanter, pouring myself out another horn, and tossing it down my throat.
[US]Ft Worth Dly Gaz. (TX) 29 Aug. 6/4: A red-faced loafer struggling blindly around with a couple of horns of the stuff in his inside.
[US] in J.P. Quinn Fools of Fortune 532: I earned a dollar in that town [...] And took a little horn.
[US]H. Shearin ‘An Eastern Kentucky Dialect Word-List’ in DN III vii 538: horn, n. a dram of whiskey.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Shadow of a Gunman Act II: He’s too far gone in the horns for that now. Sure no one ud mind him takin’ a pint or two, if he’d stop at that, but he won’t.
Carranco & Simmons ‘Boonville Lang. of N.C.’ in AS XXXIX:4 281: Horn, n. A drink.

3. the nose.

[US]J.M. Field Drama in Pokerville 94: What with the blowing of noses [...] there was the most awful [...] horn-blowing that ever Judge Frill had listened to.
[US]N.Y. Clipper 24 Sept. 4/5: What with the blowing of noses [...] there was the most awful [...] horn-blowing that Judge Frill had listened to.
[US]Criminal Life (NY) 19 Dec. n.p.: [I]f you value that big gin-blomossed horn of yours.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY)10 June 2/1: Although Levy and Gilmore were not there [i.e. at a prize-fight] there were big ‘blows on the horn’.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 146: Then I come with my fast ball right past his nose and I bet if he had not of ducked it would of drove that big horn of hisn clear up in the press box.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Big Umbrella’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 561: A big horn indicates character, and a moustache is good luck.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 28: Sweat ran down the old man’s big nose [...] He had a horn like the handle of a Frontier Colt.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 11: His reading glasses from Woolworth’s perched on the end of his big horn.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 192: This big horn of mine is working like it was on bonus. What a fucking stink.

4. an ear; in phr. between the horns, in the centre of the forehead.

[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 24: I [...] grabbed the gun and pointed it at him right between the horns and pulled the trigger.
[US]C.G. Finney Circus of Dr Lao 87: One of the Chink non-coms would come up with a big Mauser pistol an’ let him have it between the horns.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 227: It took maybe a minute for me to have all their horns to receivers.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 286: Was ready to bust a cap between his fuckin horns.

5. (orig. jazz) as a wind instrument.

(a) any kind of wind instrument.

[US]W. Winchell Your Broadway & Mine 20 Nov. [synd. col.] [S]language [...] in use among musicians. ‘Horn’ is the designation for any of the wind instruments.
[US]R.B. Nye ‘A Musician’s Word List’ in AS XII:1 46: horn. Any wind instrument, whether reed or brass.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 127: I wished had studied a horn; but I never had been exposed to one.

(b) a trombone.

[US]H. Brook Webb ‘The Sl. of Jazz’ in AS XII:3 181: horn. Trombone (loosely, any brass instrument).

(c) a trumpet.

[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 33: I got the horn stashed by Paddy Jenks, he likes I should play when he’s goofin.
[UK]G. Melly Owning Up (1974) 83: Louis [...] handed it back with the words: ‘You want to get the saveloys out of your horn, man!’.

6. (US) a telephone; esp. in phr. on the horn; cite 2002 refers to a walkie-talkie.

[US]Slanguage Dict. 28: On the horn – on the telephone.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 41: That’s Dave on the horn.
[US]K. Brasselle Cannibals 215: I’ll call you on the horn in a few days.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 214: I’ll get on the horn, Jim.
[US]T. Philbin Under Cover 236: I’m going to get on the horn [...] Just call everyone I know.
[US]P. Cornwell Point of Origin (1999) 205: I’m on the horn.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 80: We get on the horn tomorrow.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Target’ Wire ep. 1 [TV script] You got the uniforms on the horn?
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 14: Look, doll, when you grab the horn—.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 56: When you get your boss on the horn, tell him that the chiefs are already all over this .
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] He gets on the horn to Sykes.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Broken’ in Broken 40: Landreau gets on the horn.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 63: ‘Mom — I’m on the horn with Marilyn Monroe’.

In compounds

hornbag (n.) [sense 1b above + -bag sfx/bag n.1 (3); or SE bag, a receptacle for sense 1a above]

an attractive woman.

[Aus]B. Humphries Nice Night’s Entertainment (1981) 189: Of course I love you, horn-bag.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 7: Looking up the leather mini of the spunky little hornbag.
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus 3 in Viz 98 Oct. 17: hornbagn. An extremely attractive woman, ie. one who gives you the horn.
Kath & Kim [Living TV (Aus.)] I’m not a housewife. I’m a hornbag!
[UK]Guardian G2 10 May 7: Kim Craig is a ‘hornbag’ and she knows it.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘And that hornbag single mum, hey? Wouldn’t mind a bit of that myself’.
horn-colic (n.)

1. an involuntary erection.

[[UK]Spy on Mother Midnight III 24: It was in vain to dissemble any longer, the gentleman/ below slairs slood stoutly for his prerogative, and inform'd Sally, with what species of the Cholick her bed-fellow was afficted].
[UK]D. Gunston (ed.) Jemmy Twitcher’s Jests 52: He told Mr Foote the motion of the coach had a remarkable effect upon him, and given him a violent fit of the Horn-Cholic.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Horn cholick, a temporary priapism.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

2. male sexual frustration.

[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 104: Unsatisfied sexual desire in the male is called either stone-ache or horn colic.

see separate entries.

horn movie (n.)

a pornographic film.

[US]D. Simmons ‘Terms Used in a Men’s Dormitory’ in AS XLII:4 228: cock movie, n. phr.; horn movie, n. phr. An erotic ‘dirty’ moving picture.
horn parlor (n.)

a brothel.

[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 93: Perhaps Manolete [...] suffered from terrible haemorrhoids as a result of long nights in Spanish horn parlours.
horn-pill (n.)

an aphrodisiac.

[UK]M. Amis Experience 309: Asked by the doctor if he would like to try a course of what Girl, 20 calls ‘horn pills’ (or ur-Viagra).
horn root (n.) [its supposed aphrodisiac qualities]


[UK]Spitalfields Life 18 Nov. 🌐 Celery is ‘horn root,’ because years ago they thought that celery was an aphrodisiac. And they said it gave you the horn.
horn smoker (n.)

a fellator or fellatrix.

[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 31: The cloakroom boy [...] pushed his luck and asked Dandy to fist him. Dandy obliged the cheeky little AC/DC horn smoker.
hornsmoking (n.)


[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 57: Does my penchant for hornsmoking and being slammed up the dirtbox bother you at all?

In phrases

blow your horn if you don’t sell fish

(US) a phr. used after someone has blown their nose noisily.

[US]G.D. Chase ‘Cape Cod Dialect’ in DN II:vi 424: blow your horn if you don’t sell fish. Said to anyone who blows his nose vigorously.
on the horn

in a state of sexual excitement.

[Scot]Bugger’s Alphabet in Bold (1979) 42: N is the noble who died on the horn.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 228: I remember when I had you on the horn, Thursday night.
scrape one’s horns (v.) (also cut one’s horns)(US)

of a man, to engage in sexual activity, esp. after a period of abstinence.

[US]Current Sl. II:1 6: Scrape one’s horns, v. To indulge in heavy petting after a lapse of sexual activities.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 300: I know all you boys got the hotpants cause I was young myself and I had to cut my horns like anyone else.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

horn-thumb (n.) [the sheath of horn worn by a cutpurse to protect his thumb from the knife-blade]

a cutpurse.

[UK]T. Preston Cambyses in Dodsley Old Plays (1875) IV 235: But cousin, because to that office ye are not like come, / Frequent your exercises, a horne on your thumbe, / A quick eye, a sharp knife [F&H].
[UK]Jonson Bartholomew Fair II iii: I mean a child of the horn-thumb, a babe of booty, boy, a cut-purse.

In phrases

blow one’s horn (v.)

see separate entry.

get the horn to (v.)

(US) to pressurize.

[US]T. Thackrey Thief 31: This other dude [...] got the horn to him and angled the price up two bills.
in a horn [? dial. in a horn, expression of incredulity]

(US) a general phr. of dismissal.

[US]Daily Pennant (St. Louis) 9 Sept. n.p.: A jury case too, with lawyers for trimmings, / And a plaintiff who looked so forlorn; / For his battered arm he bore in a sling, / But I spec it was all in a horn.
[US]Knickerbocker (N.Y.) lI (Feb.) 145: That is how I was converted ; was it, think you, in a horn?
Wash. Eve. Star 26 Aug. n.p.: I have mentioned before the innumerable comforts – in a horn – of the old White Sulphur Springs [F&H].
[US]C.H. Smith Bill Arp 56: Methinks I see them, as in a horn, crowding the road, and swimming the rivers, and climbing the mountains, exclaiming with majestic fury, We come, we come, – ye have called us long, / We come o’er the mountings – in a horn.
[US]C.H. Smith Bill Arp’s Peace Papers 78: ‘I bleeve I’ll unpack,’ sed one, ‘dingd if I’m afeerd of a blu taled fly; I’m goin to set down and be esy.’ ‘In a horn,’ sed I.
[US]County Paper (Oregon, MO) 15 Sept. 2/6: Such phrases as [...] trim one’s jacket [...] in a horn [...] that’s a whopper.

In exclamations