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horn +‎ book


hornbook (plural hornbooks)

  1. A single page containing the alphabet, covered with a sheet of transparent horn, formerly used for teaching children to read.[1]
    • 1696, William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost
      Moth: Yes, yes. He teaches boys the hornbook.
    • a. 1828, Samuel Johnson, John Walker, Robert S. Jameson, A Dictionary of the English Language, page 351,
      HORNBOOK, (horn'-book) n. The first book of children, covered with horn to keep it unsoiled.
    • 1913, Katharine Lee Bates, Lilla Weed, Shakespeare: Selective Bibliography and Biographical Notes, page 41
      By way of the hornbook Shakespeare would have learned to read, []
    • 1999, Nigel Wheale, Writing and Society: Literacy, Print, and Politics in Britain, 1590-1660, page 43:
      Infants learned their letters from a hornbook, a square of wood shaped like a table-tennis bat on which were pasted the alphabet, syllables and the Lord's Prayer []
    • 2002, Nila Banton Smith, American Reading Instruction, page 14:
      The hornbook is the first piece of instructional material specifically mentioned in American records.
  2. (law) A legal textbook that gives a basic overview of a particular area of law.