c. 1300 "worker in horn" (maker of buttons, spoons, combs, etc.), from horn (n.). From mid-15c. as "one who blows a horn." Mid-13c. as a surname.
late 14c., "made of horn," from horn (n.) + -y (2). From 1690s as "callous, resembling horn." The colloquial meaning "lustful, sexually aroused," was in use certainly by 1889, perhaps as early as 1863; it probably derives from the late 18c. slang expression to have the horn, suggestive of male sexual excitement (but eventually applied to women as well); see horn (n.). As a noun it once also was a popular name for a domestic cow. For an adjective in the original sense of the word, hornish (1630s) and horn-like (1570s) are available.