Definition of pen and inkhorn in US English:

pen and inkhorn


  • Writing instruments consisting of a pen and inkhorn, especially as formerly carried by professional clerks; (hence) these implements viewed as symbolic of pedantry, bookishness, learnedness, etc. Now rare (historical in later use).


Late 16th century; earliest use found in Claudius Hollyband (fl. 1573–1583), linguist and writer. From pen + and + ink-horn.


pen and inkhorn