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See more synonyms for cornice on Thesaurus.com
  1. Architecture.
    1. any prominent, continuous, horizontally projecting feature surmounting a wall or other construction, or dividing it horizontally for compositional purposes.
    2. the uppermost member of a classical entablature, consisting of a bed molding, a corona, and a cymatium, with rows of dentils, modillions, etc., often placed between the bed molding and the corona.
  2. any of various other ornamental horizontal moldings or bands, as for concealing hooks or rods from which curtains are hung or for supporting picture hooks.
  3. a mass of snow, ice, etc., projecting over a mountain ridge.
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verb (used with object), cor·niced, cor·nic·ing.
  1. to furnish or finish with a cornice.
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Origin of cornice

1555–65; < Italian: literally, crow (< Latin cornix); for the meaning, compare Greek korṓnē crow, crown
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for cornice

Historical Examples

  • Of the cornice only the bed mould, carved with a leaf and tongue, remains.

    Byzantine Churches in Constantinople

    Alexander Van Millingen

  • The windows are lintelled and the cornice is of the typical Turkish form.

  • The supporting part in a Greek Doric cornice is extremely small.


    Thomas Roger Smith

  • Occasionally there were a cornice and pediment over the entrance.


    Thomas Roger Smith

  • The entablature is a positive triumph in cornice, frieze and architrave.

British Dictionary definitions for cornice


  1. architect
    1. the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
    2. a continuous horizontal projecting course or moulding at the top of a wall, building, etc
  2. an overhanging ledge of snow formed by the wind on the edge of a mountain ridge, cliff, or corrie
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  1. (tr) architect to furnish or decorate with or as if with a cornice
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French, from Italian, perhaps from Latin cornix crow, but influenced also by Latin corōnis decorative flourish used by scribes, from Greek korōnis, from korōnē curved object, crown
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cornice


1560s, from Middle French corniche (16c.) or directly from Italian cornice "ornamental molding along a wall," perhaps from Latin coronis "curved line, flourish in writing," from Greek koronis "curved object" (see crown). Perhaps influenced by (or even from) Latin cornicem, accusative of cornix "crow" (cf. corbel).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper