verb (used with object), en·sconced, en·sconc·ing.

to settle securely or snugly: I found her in the library, ensconced in an armchair.
to cover or shelter; hide securely: He ensconced himself in the closet in order to eavesdrop.

Origin of ensconce

First recorded in 1580–90; en-1 + sconce2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ensconce

Historical Examples of ensconce

  • Let us ensconce ourselves in the vestibule of the sanctuary; he will be here anon.

  • But with apparent obedience she went out—only, however, to ensconce herself immediately behind the door.


    S. R. Crockett

  • He had been driven to ensconce the nest in a corner of his already too well-filled den.

  • Amazingly, incredibly to him, this grown woman appeared about to ensconce herself.

  • It struck him at once that it would be a good plan to climb into this, and ensconce himself among the branches.

British Dictionary definitions for ensconce


verb (tr; often passive)

to establish or settle firmly or comfortablyensconced in a chair
to place in safety; hide

Word Origin for ensconce

C16: see en- 1, sconce ²
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 ensconce

1580s, "to cover with a fort," from en- (1) "make, put in" + sconce "small fortification, shelter," perhaps via French, probably from Dutch schans "earthwork" (cf. Middle High German schanze "bundle of sticks"), of uncertain origin. Related: Ensconced.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper