alcove

[al-kohv]
noun
1.
a recess or small room adjacent to or opening out of a room: a dining alcove.
2.
a recess in a room for a bed, bookcases, or the like.
3.
any recessed space, as a bower in a garden.

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


nook, bay.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
alcove (ˈælkəʊv)
 
n
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
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

alcove
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
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

alcove

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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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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
  afterward.
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