The modern day descendant of the oboe di caccia (literally, hunting oboe or oboe of the hunt), the English Horn is the second most common member of the oboe family. The origins of the name come from the French "cor anglais," which itself is a corruption of "cor anglé," that is, "bent horn." The "bent" comes from the fact that the original oboe di caccia was a bent or curved instrument, suiting the length of the instrument to the natural position of the arms.

While the body of the modern English Horn is straight, this bend continues to exist in the bocal, which is long and...bent toward the player to facilitate playing.