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

  • noun A decorative structure or an ornamental panel situated above a mantelpiece.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Placed over the shelf of a mantel, or prepared to be so placed: said of a painting, a carved panel, or the like.
  • noun In furniture-making, the frame of shelves, decorative panels, or the like, often including a mirror, which covers the chimney-breast above the mantelshelf.

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

  • noun A decorative structure, usually plasterwork or carved wood, and sometimes containing a mirror, over a mantelpiece

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

  • noun a shelf over a mantelpiece


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The lots include two 19th century Chinese barrel-shaped garden seats (£1,500-£2,000); an ornate giltwood overmantel mirror from the late 19th century (£1,000-£1,500); a pair of French faux-crocodile-skin binoculars (£500-£800); and a late 18th century English stained and painted model of a 62-gun ship (yours for £2,000-£4,000).

    Lehman's corporate art collection goes under the hammer at Christies

  • Reaching the front door, she opened it and shut it again hard, using the music of the bells to cover her stealthy return through the maze of Edwardian dining chairs, assorted cabinets, and overmantel mirrors.

    Sonnet of the Sphinx

  • And the tremendous skull of the great hog of Oakham hung, a portentous ivory overmantel, with a Chinese jar in either eye socket, snout down above the fire ....

    The Food of the Gods and how it came to Earth

  • They were named Skinner, Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, and Mr. Bensington interviewed them in a small room with hermetically sealed windows, a spotted overmantel looking-glass, and some ailing calceolarias.

    The Food of the Gods and how it came to Earth

  • The other three stood by the fireplace, Rudi leaning against the overmantel.

    Royal Flash

  • For example, there is a statuette of a kneeling cupid on the overmantel.

    Royal Flash

  • "There's where it was," she said softly and pointed to a deep niche cut into the surface of the stone overmantel.

    Ralestone Luck

  • A Victorian overmantel reached from the mantelpiece to the ceiling.

    Through the Wall

  • She has taken out all the pins now, and has thrown her bonnet on to the lounge nearest to her, and is standing before the glass in the overmantel patting and pushing into order the soft locks that lie upon her forehead.

    April's Lady A Novel

  • Inch by inch his eyes moved until they reached the top shelf of the overmantel and stopped.

    Leonie of the Jungle


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  • He held the door wide and I went in past him, into a dim pleasant room with an apricot Chinese rug that looked expensive, deepsided chairs, a number of white drum lamps, a big Capehart in the corner, a long and very wide davenport in pale tan mohair shot with dark brown, and a fireplace with a copper screen and an overmantel in white wood.

    --Raymond Chandler, 1943, The Lady in the Lake, chapter 3

    September 4, 2009

  • The overmantel's cousin is the overdoor, or supraporte (German) or sopraporte (Italian).

    Architectural moldings of wood or plaster that may serve as basic shelving, simple to complex decoration, or magnificent architectural statements involving painting (trompe l'oeil, hunting scenes, landscapes), elaborate carving, and bas-relief.

    September 28, 2009