from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A horizontal molded projection that crowns or completes a building or wall.
  • noun The uppermost part of an entablature.
  • noun A strip of molding that runs along the upper part of a wall just below the ceiling.
  • noun An ornamental horizontal molding or frame used to conceal rods, picture hooks, or other devices.
  • noun An overhanging mass of windblown snow on a ridge or the crest of a mountain.
  • transitive verb To supply, decorate, or finish with or as if with a cornice.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In architecture, any molded projection which crowns or finishes the part to which it is affixed; specifically, the third or uppermost division of an entablature, resting on the frieze. (See column.) When the crowning course of a wall is plain, it is usually called a coping.
  • noun An ornamental molding, usually of plaster, running round the walls of a room just below the ceiling.
  • noun In upholstery, an ornamental band or molding which covers and conceals the rod or hooks from which curtains, etc., are hung.
  • noun A molding or strip of wood, plain or gilded, fastened to the walls of a room, at the proper height from the floor, to serve as a support for picture-hooks; a picture-cornice.
  • To furnish or finish with a cornice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Arch.) Any horizontal, molded or otherwise decorated projection which crowns or finishes the part to which it is affixed.
  • noun the ring on a cannon next behind the muzzle ring.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture A horizontal architectural element of a building, projecting forward from the main walls, originally used as a means of directing rainwater away from the building's walls. See also: eaves, fascia.
  • noun A decorative element applied at the topmost part of the wall of a room, as with a crown moulding.
  • noun A decorative element at the topmost portion of certain pieces of furniture, as with a highboy.

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

  • noun a decorative framework to conceal curtain fixtures at the top of a window casing
  • noun a molding at the corner between the ceiling and the top of a wall
  • verb furnish with a cornice
  • noun the topmost projecting part of an entablature


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

[Obsolete French, from Italian, possibly from Latin cornīx, cornīc-, crow, from its resemblance to a crow's beak (influenced by Greek korōnis, curved line, flourish).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from Latin cornix, 'crow', influenced by Ancient Greek κορωνίς (koronis, "crown").


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  • Running under the cornice was a faint carved inscription.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine 2004

  • Running under the cornice was a faint carved inscription.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine 2004

  • Above the cornice is a blocking course, surmounted by an attic, with an appropriate cornice and sub-blocking, to add to the height of the building.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 13, No. 354, January 31, 1829 Various

  • Underneath the cornice was a crimson velvet vallance, separated into divisions, the lower portion of each division being rounded with gold, while its centre was decorated with gold, embroidered, and raised ornaments illustrative of the military orders, and of the emblems of the United Kingdom, the Rose, the

    Coronation Anecdotes Giles Gossip

  • That clumsy structure called the cornice, for putting up curtains on, has happily given place to the more light and graceful curtain pole.

    The Ladies Book of Useful Information Compiled from many sources Anonymous

  • A cornice is the uppermost division of the entablature, the representative of the roof, of an order, consisting of projecting mouldings and blocks, usually divisible into bed-moulding, corona, and gutter.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery 1840-1916 1913

  • Over the middle of the cornice is a seated deity with hands extended, the right over the Eye of Horus, and the left over a pool.

    Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life 1895

  • The upper series above the cornice was the more important of the two, on account of the chronological inscriptions which accompanied and explained each medallion.

    Pagan and Christian Rome Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani 1888

  • Above the cornice is another monolith, the lower part squared and the upper shaped into a pyramid.

    History of Phoenicia George Rawlinson 1857

  • The ladder just reached the edge of the cornice, that is to say, the sill of the window; so that, by standing upon the last round but one of the ladder, a man of about the middle height, as the king was, for instance, could easily talk with those who might be in the room.

    Louise de la Valliere Alexandre Dumas p��re 1836


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  • We paused before a house that seemed

    A swelling of the ground--

    The roof was scarcely visible--

    The cornice--but a mound

    -Emily Dickinson, from 27 ('Because I could not stop for Death')

    July 17, 2009

  • in ice and snow, it's the snow at the top of a mountain which is wind and turbulence sculpted into an overhang

    February 12, 2013