any prominent, continuous, horizontally projecting feature surmounting a wall or other construction, or dividing it horizontally for compositional purposes.
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.
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.
a mass of snow, ice, etc., projecting over a mountain ridge.
verb (used with object), corniced, cornicing.
to furnish or finish with a cornice.

1555–65; < Italian: literally, crow (< Latin cornix); for the meaning, compare Greek korṓnē crow, crown Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cornice (ˈkɔːnɪs)
1.  architect
 a.  the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
 b.  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
3.  (tr) architect to furnish or decorate with or as if with a cornice
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Main Entry:  cornice
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See crown molding's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

1560s, from M.Fr. corniche, It. cornice "ornamental molding along a wall," perhaps from L. coronis "curved line, flourish in writing," from Gk. koronis "curved object."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The original plaster ceiling is intact and has egg and dart molding, and a
  cornice with acanthus leaf and leaf and dart molding.
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.
Images for cornice
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