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[kahr-toosh] /kɑrˈtuʃ/
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.
Origin of cartouche
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cartouche
  • 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 well.
  • 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.
  • Map also contains a decorative and entertaining cartouche featuring local wildlife and vegetation.
  • Centered over the portal is a cartouche with a coat of arms on a diapered background.
  • The central pediment is decorated with incised decoration and holds a cartouche and clock.
  • In demotic, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of parentheses and a vertical line.
British Dictionary definitions for cartouche


a carved or cast ornamental tablet or panel in the form of a scroll, sometimes having an inscription
an oblong figure enclosing characters expressing royal or divine names in Egyptian hieroglyphics
the paper case holding combustible materials in certain fireworks
(rare) a cartridge or a box for cartridges
Word Origin
C17: from French: scroll, cartridge, from Italian cartoccio, from carta paper; see card1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cartouche

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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