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sconce

1
[ skons ]
/ skɒns /
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See synonyms for: sconce / sconced / sconcing on Thesaurus.com

noun
a bracket for candles or other lights, placed on a wall, mirror, picture frame, etc.
the hole or socket of a candlestick, for holding the candle.
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Origin of sconce

1
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English sconce, sconse, from Old French esconce, or directly from Medieval Latin scōnsa, shortening of abscōnsa, noun use of feminine past participle of abscondere “to conceal”; see origin at abscond

Other definitions for sconce (2 of 4)

sconce2
[ skons ]
/ skɒns /

noun
Fortification. a small detached fort or defense work, as to defend a pass, bridge, etc.
a protective screen or shelter.
verb (used with object), sconced, sconc·ing.
Fortification. to protect with a sconce.
Obsolete. to protect; shelter.

Origin of sconce

2
First recorded in 1565–75; from Dutch schans, from German Schanze “entrenchment, fieldwork,” originally “bundle of sticks or wood; fagot”; see ensconce

Other definitions for sconce (3 of 4)

sconce3
[ skons ]
/ skɒns /

verb (used with object), sconced, sconc·ing.
(at English universities, especially formerly) to fine (an undergraduate) for a breach of rules or etiquette.
noun
a fine so imposed.

Origin of sconce

3
First recorded in 1610–20; origin uncertain

Other definitions for sconce (4 of 4)

sconce4
[ skons ]
/ skɒns /

noun
the head or skull.
sense or wit.

Origin of sconce

4
First recorded in 1560–70; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sconce in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sconce (1 of 4)

sconce1
/ (skɒns) /

noun
a bracket fixed to a wall for holding candles or lights
a flat candlestick with a handle

Word Origin for sconce

C14: from Old French esconse hiding place, lantern, or from Late Latin sconsa, from absconsa dark lantern

British Dictionary definitions for sconce (2 of 4)

sconce2
/ (skɒns) /

noun
a small protective fortification, such as an earthwork

Word Origin for sconce

C16: from Dutch schans, from Middle High German schanze bundle of brushwood

British Dictionary definitions for sconce (3 of 4)

sconce3
/ (skɒns) ((at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, esp formerly)) /

verb (tr)
to challenge (a fellow student) on the grounds of a social misdemeanour to drink a large quantity of beer without stopping
obsolete to fine (a student) for some minor misdemeanour
noun
the act of sconcing
a mug or tankard used in sconcing

Word Origin for sconce

C17: of obscure origin

British Dictionary definitions for sconce (4 of 4)

sconce4
/ (skɒns) /

noun archaic
the head or skull
sense, brain, or wit

Word Origin for sconce

C16: probably jocular use of sconce 1
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
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