or man·tle



a construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney breast in a more or less decorative manner.
Also called mantelshelf. a shelf above a fireplace opening.

Origin of mantel

1480–90; earlier mantell mantelet; variant of mantle
Also called man·tel·piece [man-tl-pees] /ˈmæn tlˌpis/, mantlepiece.
Can be confusedmantel mantle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mantelpiece

Contemporary Examples of mantelpiece

Historical Examples of mantelpiece

  • Somehow or other his eyes wandered to a picture that rested on a mantelpiece in the room.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Mr Vladimir, arranging his cravat, observed him in the glass over the mantelpiece.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • I might sweep and wash off the stove, and—and clean off the mantelpiece.

  • Maltravers glanced at the clock upon the mantelpiece; it was the hour of nine.

  • George Featherly, standing with his back to the mantelpiece, smiled unkindly.

British Dictionary definitions for mantelpiece



Also called: mantel shelf, chimneypiece a shelf above a fireplace often forming part of the mantel
another word for mantel (def. 1)


less commonly mantle


a wooden or stone frame around the opening of a fireplace, together with its decorative facing
Also called: mantel shelf a shelf above this frame

Word Origin for mantel

C15: from French, variant of mantle
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 mantelpiece

1680s, from mantel + piece (n.).



c.1200, "short, loose, sleeveless cloak," variant of mantle (q.v.). Sense of "movable shelter for soldiers besieging a fort" is from 1520s. Meaning "timber or stone supporting masonry above a fireplace" first recorded 1510s, a shortened form of Middle English mantiltre "mantletree" (late 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper