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cornice

[kawr-nis] /ˈkɔr nɪs/
noun
1.
Architecture.
  1. any prominent, continuous, horizontally projecting feature surmounting a wall or other construction, or dividing it horizontally for compositional purposes.
  2. the uppermost member of a classical entablature, consisting of a bed molding, a corona, and a cymatium, with rows of dentils, modillions, etc., often placed between the bed molding and the corona.
2.
any of various other ornamental horizontal moldings or bands, as for concealing hooks or rods from which curtains are hung or for supporting picture hooks.
3.
a mass of snow, ice, etc., projecting over a mountain ridge.
verb (used with object), corniced, cornicing.
4.
to furnish or finish with a cornice.
Origin
1555-1565
1555-65; < Italian: literally, crow (< Latin cornix); for the meaning, compare Greek korṓnē crow, crown
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cornice
  • The original plaster ceiling is intact and has egg and dart molding, and a cornice with acanthus leaf and leaf and dart molding.
  • Staff architects designed a long, low brick building, undecorated except for a delicately corbeled brick cornice.
  • Above this the cornice is corbeled out on brick work, but the attic pediment slopes back in ribbons of granite.
  • Not long ago, there was a wind-driven cornice of snow on that bank.
  • The angels were largely spared any damage, sheltered by a five-foot projecting cornice.
  • The weight of a falling cornice breaks into hundreds of pieces and forms its own avalanche.
  • The windows of the building are covered by hood moulds and the building also features an iron cornice.
  • The cornice features near its base, a band of decorative panels with a circular medallion in the center of each panel.
  • There is a decorative cornice at the roofline supported by fluted wooden brackets and adorned with dentils.
  • With the lunettes directly above this cornice, it was necessary to have a subdued color.
British Dictionary definitions for cornice

cornice

/ˈkɔːnɪs/
noun
1.
(architect)
  1. the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
  2. a continuous horizontal projecting course or moulding at the top of a wall, building, etc
2.
an overhanging ledge of snow formed by the wind on the edge of a mountain ridge, cliff, or corrie
verb
3.
(transitive) (architect) to furnish or decorate with or as if with a cornice
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, from Italian, perhaps from Latin cornix crow, but influenced also by Latin corōnis decorative flourish used by scribes, from Greek korōnis, from korōnē curved object, crown
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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Contemporary definitions for cornice
noun
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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Word Origin and History for cornice
n.

1560s, from Middle French corniche (16c.) or directly from Italian cornice "ornamental molding along a wall," perhaps from Latin coronis "curved line, flourish in writing," from Greek koronis "curved object" (see crown). Perhaps influenced by (or even from) Latin cornicem, accusative of cornix "crow" (cf. corbel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for cornice

in architecture, the decorated projection at the top of a wall provided to protect the wall face or to ornament and finish the eaves. The term is used as well for any projecting element that crowns an architectural feature, such as a doorway. A cornice is also specifically the top member of the entablature (q.v.) of a Classical order (see order); it is in this case divided into three parts, a bed mold, corona, and cymatium.

Learn more about cornice with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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