a recess or small room adjacent to or opening out of a room: a dining alcove.
a recess in a room for a bed, bookcases, or the like.
any recessed space, as a bower in a garden.

1670–80; < French alcôve < Spanish alcoba < Arabic al-qubbah the dome

nook, bay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To alcove
World English Dictionary
alcove (ˈælkəʊv)
1.  a recess or niche in the wall of a room, as for a bed, books, etc
2.  any recessed usually vaulted area, as in a garden wall
3.  any covered or secluded spot, such as a summerhouse
[C17: from French alcôve, from Spanish alcoba, from Arabic al-qubbah the vault, arch]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1670s, "vaulted recess," from Fr. alcôve, from Sp. alcoba, from Arabic al-qobbah "the vaulted chamber," from Sem. base q-b-b "to be bent, crooked, vaulted."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


recess opening off a room or other space enclosed by walls or hedges. In medieval architecture it was commonly used as a sleeping space off the main body of a drafty hall. The separation of the alcove from the main space was accomplished at first by means of curtains and later by timber partitions to form independent rooms and thus conserve heat. In later centuries bed alcoves and kitchen alcoves reappeared as means of saving space in small living quarters, particularly in apartments

Learn more about alcove with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
My washing machine and dryer sit in a shallow alcove.
They weren't thrilled about the configuration, an alcove studio.
The huge figure sits in a sort of alcove overlooking the river, which makes it
  look enthroned.
The inscriptions on the alcove walls come from his speeches as president and
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature