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1610s, "scroll-like ornament," also "paper cartridge," from French cartouche, the French form of cartridge (q.v.). Application to Egyptian hieroglyphics dates from 1830, on resemblance to rolled paper cartridges.
in architecture, ornamentation in scroll form, applied especially to elaborate frames around tablets or coats of arms; by extension, the word is applied to any oval shape or even to a decorative shield, whether scrolled or not. The term is also used for an oval frame enclosing the hieroglyphs of the name of an Egyptian sovereign, as well as for the amulet of similar design worn in ancient Egypt as a protection against the loss of one's name (i.e., one's identity)