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sconce

1
[skons]
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noun
  1. a bracket for candles or other lights, placed on a wall, mirror, picture frame, etc.
  2. the hole or socket of a candlestick, for holding the candle.
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Origin of sconce

1
1350–1400; Middle English sconce, sconse (< Old French esconce) < Medieval Latin scōnsa, aphetic variant of abscōnsa, noun use of feminine past participle of abscondere to conceal; see abscond

sconce

2
[skons]
noun
  1. Fortification. a small detached fort or defense work, as to defend a pass, bridge, etc.
  2. a protective screen or shelter.
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verb (used with object), sconced, sconc·ing.
  1. Fortification. to protect with a sconce.
  2. Obsolete. to protect; shelter.
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Origin of sconce

2
1565–75; < Dutch schans < German Schanze, orig. bundle of wood; compare ensconse

sconce

3
[skons]
verb (used with object), sconced, sconc·ing.
  1. (at English universities, especially formerly) to fine (an undergraduate) for a breach of rules or etiquette.
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noun
  1. a fine so imposed.
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Origin of sconce

3
First recorded in 1610–20; origin uncertain

sconce

4
[skons]
noun
  1. the head or skull.
  2. sense or wit.
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Origin of sconce

4
First recorded in 1560–70; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sconce

candelabra, sconce, punish, levy, confiscate, pricket, candelabrum, menorah, extort, seize, alienate, tax, dock, mulct, amerce, exact, sequestrate

Examples from the Web for sconce

Historical Examples of sconce

  • She cleared the sconce and took down the flitches that hung from the rannel-tree to dry.

    The Shadow of a Crime

    Hall Caine

  • He placed the candle in a sconce on the wall, and then turned to the three.

  • A thousand pities that so fine a fellow should have a sconce like a cocoanut!

    Rookwood

    William Harrison Ainsworth

  • The shutters were closed, and the sconce on the table had two lighted candles.

  • The candle in the sconce was six paces away from the guards.


British Dictionary definitions for sconce

sconce

1
noun
  1. a bracket fixed to a wall for holding candles or lights
  2. a flat candlestick with a handle
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Word Origin for sconce

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

sconce

2
noun
  1. a small protective fortification, such as an earthwork
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Word Origin for sconce

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

sconce

3
verb (tr)
  1. to challenge (a fellow student) on the grounds of a social misdemeanour to drink a large quantity of beer without stopping
  2. obsolete to fine (a student) for some minor misdemeanour
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noun
  1. the act of sconcing
  2. a mug or tankard used in sconcing
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Word Origin for sconce

C17: of obscure origin

sconce

4
noun archaic
  1. the head or skull
  2. sense, brain, or wit
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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

Word Origin and History for sconce

n.

late 14c., "candlestick with a screen," a shortening of Old French esconse "lantern, hiding place," from Medieval Latin sconsa, from Latin absconsa, fem. past participle of abscondere "to hide" (see abscond). Meaning "metal bracket-candlestick fastened to a wall" is recorded from mid-15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper