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 ensconced

Contemporary Examples of ensconced

Historical Examples of ensconced

  • He bestowed his companion in the tonneau and ensconced himself beside her.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Code found Elsa ensconced with a book under the awning amidships.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • Molly, ensconced in a window, was already busy with her own.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Juve had ensconced himself in a huge easy chair in a corner of the room.


    Pierre Souvestre

  • Roger was up, though still coughing, and ensconced in his study.

    Roger Ingleton, Minor

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for ensconced


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 ensconced



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