[the obvious link is to horn n.2 (1a), the penis, but the term apparently comes from an old German farming practice of grafting the spurs of a castrated cock on the root of the severed comb. These transplants would grow into horns, sometimes several inches long. The German word hahnreh or hahnrei, meaning cuckold, orig. meant capon, a castrated cock; an older theory took the posture of ‘missionary position’ intercourse, in which the man represented a head and the woman’s legs, spread and raised, were his horns; thus note Ward, ‘The Dancing School’ (1700): ‘I should hate a Husband with horns, were they even of my own grafting’]
[mid-15C+] an all-purpose term for cuckoldry, a symbol of cuckoldry; usu. in pl.
[20C+] (W.I.) the offspring of an adulterous relationship.
see separate entry.
[18C–19C] a married man.
[late 16C–17C] one who cuckolds.
[early 17C–mid-19C] cuckoldry; also attrib.
blow one’s horn
[early 18C] to be a cuckold, to be cuckolded.
[19C+] to cuckold.
[17C–18C] to become the victim of cuckoldry.
1. a promiscuous wife.
2. a cuckold.
[mid-18C] to make someone into a cuckold.
put horns on
[1950s] to make someone into a cuckold.
put the horns on
1. to jinx.
2. to cuckold.
take a horn
[20C+] (W.I.) to accept that one’s partner is having/has had an affair without making an issue out of it.