Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A grooved timber in which something slides.
  • n. A section of stage scenery placed in a wing of a theatre.
  • n. The space between such pieces of scenery, through which an actor can make an entrance or exit.
  • n. A backstage area in a theater.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a piece of timber having a groove in which something glides
  • n. a side scene of the stage in a theater or the space between the side scenes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A piece of timber having a groove in which something glides.
  • n. One of the side scenes of the stage in a theater, or the space included between the side scenes.
  • n. A fluting in a sword blade.
  • n. The outside stock exchange, or “curb market,” of Paris.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A piece of channeled or grooved timber, as one of the slides in which the side scenes of a theater run, the upright post of a flood-gate or sluice, etc. See cullis.
  • n. Hence One of the side scenes of the stage in a theater, or the space included between the side scenes.
  • n. A flute or groove on the blade of a sword.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a flat situated in the wings
  • n. a timber member grooved to take a sliding panel

Etymologies

French, from Old French (porte) couleice, sliding door; see portcullis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowed from French (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Thus, the break between Lumumba and UN secretary-general Hammarskjöld also plays a crucial role in the fall of the Congolese prime minister, on the one hand because it incites Lumumba to seek (openly) the support of the Soviet Union and, on the other, because it incites the United States to organize (behind the scenes) [en coulisse] active opposition to Lumumba (including the elaboration of the first plans for physical elimination).

    Lumumba and the UN

  • See trawl board anneau do coulisse du type ouvrant anillas que se pueden abrir otter trawl chalut panneaux arte de arrastre de puertas outrigger tangon tangn, botaln overhand knot noeud simple nudo llano

    Chapter 5

  • A few days later the July liquidation, in the official market as well as in the coulisse, was postponed until the end of August, which action proved the necessity of a period of grace.

    New York Times Current History: The European War from the Beginning to March 1915, Vol 1, No. 2 Who Began the War, and Why?

  • Sale in blank was absolutely forbidden, and in the coulisse business was at a standstill.

    New York Times Current History: The European War from the Beginning to March 1915, Vol 1, No. 2 Who Began the War, and Why?

  • Tout à coup, les deux jolies figurantes placées devant le rideau de la coulisse en écartent les plis, et Duhsanta, l'arc et les flèches à la main, paraît monté sur un char; son cocher tient les rênes; lancés à la poursuite d'une gazelle imaginaire, ils simulent par leurs gestes la rapidité de la course; leurs stances pittoresques et descriptives suggèrent à l'imagination un décor que la peinture serait impuissante à tracer.

    Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works

  • He had her entirely to himself, a privilege none of the men of fashion who were in the habit of visiting the coulisse had yet enjoyed.

    Scaramouche

  • Not but that he was accustomed to a certain frank female admiration; but then it was of the coulisse, and not of the cloister, with which he always persisted in associating Mrs. Decker.

    Tales of the Argonauts

  • She comprehended that he was, in many respects, a younger man than many a coulisse-frequenting youth whom she had known.

    A Siren

  • Cicero, and Catiline; how shall I change the pitiful souls of the coulisse into great men; make noble Romans out of these small pasteboard heroes of the mode?

    Berlin and Sans-Souci; or Frederick the Great and his friends

  • The vast receptacle of an "atelier," where all seems small, even man, has something of the air of an Opera "coulisse"; here lie ancient garments, gilded armor, fragments of stuffs, machinery.

    Vendetta

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  • On stage they are sets to the side
    In woodwork they let pieces slide - 
    Both harmless coulisses,
    But that evil groove eases
    The sword to withdraw from your hide.

    November 29, 2014