stencil

[ sten-suh l ]
/ ˈstɛn səl /

noun

a device for applying a pattern, design, words, etc., to a surface, consisting of a thin sheet of cardboard, metal, or other material from which figures or letters have been cut out, a coloring substance, ink, etc., being rubbed, brushed, or pressed over the sheet, passing through the perforations and onto the surface.
the letters, designs, etc., produced on a surface by this method.

verb (used with object), sten·ciled, sten·cil·ing or (especially British) sten·cilled, sten·cil·ling.

to mark or paint (a surface) by means of a stencil.
to produce (letters, figures, designs, etc.) by means of a stencil.

Nearby words

  1. stemwinding,
  2. sten,
  3. sten gun,
  4. stench,
  5. stench trap,
  6. stencilize,
  7. stendhal,
  8. stengah,
  9. stengel,
  10. stengel, casey

Origin of stencil

1375–1425; earlier stanesile, late Middle English stansele to ornament with diverse colors or spangles < Middle French estanceler, derivative of estencele a spark, ornamental spangle < Vulgar Latin *stincilla, metathetic variant of Latin scintilla scintilla

Related formssten·cil·er; especially British, sten·cil·ler, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stencil


British Dictionary definitions for stencil

stencil

/ (ˈstɛnsəl) /

noun

a device for applying a design, characters, etc, to a surface, consisting of a thin sheet of plastic, metal, cardboard, etc in which the design or characters have been cut so that ink or paint can be applied through the incisions onto the surface
a decoration, design, or characters produced in this way

verb -cils, -cilling or -cilled or US -cils, -ciling or -ciled (tr)

to mark (a surface) with a stencil
to produce (characters or a design) with a stencil
Derived Formsstenciller, noun

Word Origin for stencil

C14 stanselen to decorate with bright colours, from Old French estenceler, from estencele a spark, from Latin scintilla

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 stencil
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper