Definitions

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

  • noun A small, circular or crescent-shaped opening in a vaulted roof.
  • noun A crescent-shaped or semicircular space, usually over a door or window, that may contain another window, a sculpture, or a mural.
  • noun A fortification that has two projecting faces and two parallel flanks.
  • noun A broad, low-lying, typically crescent-shaped mound of sandy or loamy matter that is formed by the wind, especially along the windward side of a lake basin.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The circular hole in a guillotine in which the neck of the condemned rests.
  • noun In fortification, a detached work with flanks, presenting a salient angle to the enemy, intended for the protection of avenues, bridges, and the curtains of fieldworks.
  • noun In farriery, a halfhorseshoe, having only the front.
  • noun A blinder for the eye of a horse.
  • noun In architecture
  • noun The aperture formed by the intersection of any vault by a vault of smaller dimensions; particularly, such an aperture in a vaulted ceiling for the admission of light. Of this class are the upper lights of the naves of St. Peter's at Rome and St. Paul's in London.
  • noun A small aperture or window, especially if curved or circular, in a roof.
  • noun In a glass-furnace, the flue connecting the fire-chamber and the pot-chamber.
  • noun A watch-crystal flattened in the center; also, a kind of concavo-convex lens for spectacles.
  • noun In archaeology, a crescent ornament made of thin gold and intended as a diadem or gorget, found in ancient tombs of various epochs.
  • noun A work of art of such a shape as to fill a lunette, especially a painting or panel of such shape: as, the lunettes of Correggio.
  • noun One of the two open loops of steel which constitute the guard of the ordinary fleuret or foil used in fencing.
  • noun In artillery, an iron ring at the end of the trail-plate of a gun-carriage, to be placed over the pintle-hook of the limber in limbering up.
  • noun In the Roman Catholic Church, a crescent-shaped or circular case of crystal fitted into the monstrance for the purpose of receiving the consecrated host for solemn exposition.

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

  • noun (Fort.) A fieldwork consisting of two faces, forming a salient angle, and two parallel flanks. See bastion.
  • noun (Far.) A half horseshoe, which lacks the sponge.
  • noun A kind of watch crystal which is more than ordinarily flattened in the center; also, a species of convexoconcave lens for spectacles.
  • noun A piece of felt to cover the eye of a vicious horse.
  • noun (Arch.) Any surface of semicircular or segmental form; especially, the piece of wall between the curves of a vault and its springing line.
  • noun An iron shoe at the end of the stock of a gun carriage.
  • noun (Arch.) a window which fills or partly fills a lunette.

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

  • noun in the plural See lunettes.

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

  • noun oval or circular opening; to allow light into a dome or vault
  • noun temporary fortification like a detached bastion

Etymologies

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

[French, from Old French lunete, moon-shaped object, diminutive of lune, moon, from Latin lūna; see lune.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French lunette, diminutive of lune ("moon").

Examples

  • Round the upper edge of the lunette is a broad band of oak-leaves, and fruits of various kinds.

    The Care of Books

  • [49] A lunette is a small picture, generally semicircular, surmounting the main picture in an altar-piece.

    The Old Masters and Their Pictures For the Use of Schools and Learners in Art

  • The eastern side of the lunette is the deposition zone for wind-borne sediments.

    Reading the Maps

  • His regiment was undergoing its training on the "firing-line," and his company furnished twelve men daily for the "lunette," a kind of detached bastion about 800 yards in front of the line in the direction of the enemy.

    Bamboo Tales

  • Then, by dint of pushing and tugging, the head was got into the "lunette," the upper part of which fell in such wise that the neck was fixed as in a ship's port-hole -- and all this was accomplished amidst such confusion and with such savagery that one might have thought that head some cumbrous thing which it was necessary to get rid of with the greatest speed.

    The Three Cities Trilogy: Paris, Volume 5

  • Then, by dint of pushing and tugging, the head was got into the "lunette," the upper part of which fell in such wise that the neck was fixed as in a ship's port-hole -- and all this was accomplished amidst such confusion and with such savagery that one might have thought that head some cumbrous thing which it was necessary to get rid of with the greatest speed.

    The Three Cities Trilogy: Paris, Complete

  • Then, by dint of pushing and tugging, the head was got into the "lunette," the upper part of which fell in such wise that the neck was fixed as in a ship's port-hole -- and all this was accomplished amidst such confusion and with such savagery that one might have thought that head some cumbrous thing which it was necessary to get rid of with the greatest speed.

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Lourdes, Rome and Paris

  • The mosaic, with its hieratic Virgin and modern ships on stylized waves, is also a welcome touch of color, though perhaps if the lunette were larger and the design slightly bolder, it would read better at a distance.

    St. Mary of the Lake, Door Peninsula, Wisconsin

  • The first thing you see on entering the galleries is a small and thoroughly exquisite work from about 1500 by Domenico Morone, depicting the Madonna and Child, who are seated beneath a lunette depicting the moribund Christ.

    The Man of Sorrows Motif Over Time

  • He tried not to gawk as he passed through the Central Hall toward a room with an elaborately carved lunette window, where Samuelson, several other aides, and the president of the United States were waiting.

    O: A Presidential Novel

Comments

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  • from Middlemarch

    October 1, 2007

  • I don't know what Middlemarch is, but this would make a nice girls' name.

    October 2, 2007

  • Wouldn't it make her sound a little...er...nutty? ;-)

    Uselessness, apparently you were never "lunette" enough to major in English lit. :-) Middlemarch is the title of a George Eliot novel (1871).

    October 2, 2007

  • What a shame that words relating to the moon (a nice thing) will always carry the connotation of insanity (not so nice). It's still a pretty word.

    October 2, 2007

  • Agreed. I do like the word. Must be the effect of all the Halloween decorations I'm already seeing in every last blessed corner of the universe....

    October 2, 2007