Architecture. a rounded, convex surface, usually surrounded with carved ornamental scrollwork, for receiving a painted or low-relief decoration, as an escutcheon.
an oval or oblong figure, as on ancient Egyptian monuments, enclosing characters that represent the name of a sovereign.
the case containing the inflammable materials in certain fireworks.
cartridge ( def 1 ).
a box for cartridges.
Also, cartouch.

1605–15; < Middle French < Italian cartoccio, equivalent to cart(a) paper (see carte) + -occio augmentative suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cartouche or cartouch (kɑːˈtuːʃ)
1.  a carved or cast ornamental tablet or panel in the form of a scroll, sometimes having an inscription
2.  an oblong figure enclosing characters expressing royal or divine names in Egyptian hieroglyphics
3.  the paper case holding combustible materials in certain fireworks
4.  rare a cartridge or a box for cartridges
[C17: from French: scroll, cartridge, from Italian cartoccio, from carta paper; see card1]
cartouch or cartouch
[C17: from French: scroll, cartridge, from Italian cartoccio, from carta paper; see card1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1611, Fr. form of cartridge (q.v.). Application to Egyptian hieroglyphics dates from 1830, on resemblance to rolled paper cartridges.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The octagonal pedestal is ornamented with a cartouche on each of its sides.
Cartographer has included an elegant cartouche and a brilliant wind rose as
The die bears the outline of a policeman's shield or badge on all four sides,
  as a cartouche.
The oval cartouche at the entrance to the chamber features the state flower,
  the apple blossom.
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