American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A small defensive earthwork or fort.
- n. A decorative wall bracket for holding candles or lights.
- n. A flattened candlestick that has a handle.
- n. Slang The human head or skull.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A lantern with a protecting shade; a dark lantern; any lantern.
- n. A candlestick having the form of bracket projecting from a wall or column; also, a group of such candlesticks, forming, with an appliqué or flat, somewhat ornamented disk or plaque which seems to adhere to the wall, a decorative object. These were most commonly of brass during the years when sconces were most in use.
- n. The socket for the candle in a candlestick of any form, especially when having a projecting rim around it.
- n. A cover; a shelter; a protection; specifically, a screen or partition to cover or protect anything; a shed or hut for protection from the weather; a covered stall.
- n. A work for defense, detached from the main works for some local object; a bulwark; a block-house; a fort, as for the defense of a pass or river.
- n. A cover or protection for the head; a headpiece; a helmet.
- n. Hence The head; the skull; the cranium, especially the top of it.
- n. Brains; sense; wits; judgment or discretion.
- n. A mulct; a fine. See sconce, v. t., 3.
- n. A seat in old-fashioned open chimney-places; a chimney-seat.
- n. A fragment of an ice-floe.
- To fortify or defend with a sconce or block-house.
- Same as ensconce.
- To assess or tax at so much per head; mulct; fine; specifically, in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, to put the name of in the college buttery-books by way of fine; mulct in a tankard of ale or the like for some offense. See the quotations.
- n. A light fixture.
- n. A head or a skull.
- n. A type of small fort or other fortification, especially as built to defend a pass or ford.
- v. obsolete to impose a fine, a forfeit, or a mulct.
- v. obsolete to shut within a sconce; to imprison.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A fortification, or work for defense; a fort.
- n. A hut for protection and shelter; a stall.
- n. A piece of armor for the head; headpiece; helmet.
- n. colloq. Fig.: The head; the skull; also, brains; sense; discretion.
- n. A poll tax; a mulct or fine.
- n. A protection for a light; a lantern or cased support for a candle; hence, a fixed hanging or projecting candlestick.
- n. Hence, the circular tube, with a brim, in a candlestick, into which the candle is inserted.
- n. (Arch.) A squinch.
- n. A fragment of a floe of ice.
- n. Prov. Eng. A fixed seat or shelf.
- v. obsolete To shut up in a sconce; to imprison; to insconce.
- v. obsolete To mulct; to fine.
- n. a shelter or screen providing protection from enemy fire or from the weather
- n. a candle or flaming torch secured in a sconce
- n. a decorative wall bracket for holding candles or other sources of light
- n. a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate
- From Middle Dutch schans, cognate with German Schanze. (Wiktionary)
- Dutch schans, from German Schanze, from Middle High German.Middle English, from Old French esconse, lantern, hiding place, from Medieval Latin scōnsa, from Latin abscōnsa, feminine past participle of abscondere, to hide away : ab-, abs-, away; see ab-1 + condere, to preserve. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“She fidgeted and her eyes joined Steph's on the sconce.”
“She spotted the source of the smell in a sconce hanging halfway up the wall in the hallway across from the couches.”
“Her eyes were still on the sconce and she appeared to be talking to herself.”
“As one turns the face of the sconce, a splash of light is unleashed onto the wall.”
“The maximum amount of light that the sconce emits (this is the case in the last picture) is enough to create a nice, peaceful atmosphere.”
“The most important thing to remember is that the sconce should not be so high that you see the light bulb peeking out from under the shade when passing by.”
“TOO HIGH | When a sconce is too high on the wall, you see a naked bulb under the shade, which is always a no-no.”
“Generally, you want a sconce to be high enough on a staircase wall that you don't accidentally bump against it.”
“Historic-style phone sconce at Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenues, after dark.”
“Daily Pic: A wall sconce by Washington sculptor Dan Steinhilber, seen recently on a wall at G Fine Art, where his latest show lauches on Oct. 30.”
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