Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[kawr-nis] /ˈkɔr nɪs/
  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.
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. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for cornices
  • The vultures live on the heights, clinging to sheer cliff faces and nesting in cracks or cornices.
  • They were met by showers of falling bricks, cornices, and walls of buildings.
  • Chimneys were damaged, windows and plaster were broken, and brick cornices were downed.
  • Avoid skiing or snowshoeing in gullies, on unforested slopes and under snow cornices where avalanches could occur.
  • The courthouse is built of stone and features metal cornices and pediments at the roof eaves.
  • The other two buildings each have seven columns under level cornices.
  • The buildings are sheathed in weatherboard, and feature bracketed cornices and narrow paneled pilasters at their corners.
  • The tower and cornices were made of galvanized iron while the roof was covered with tin.
  • The style is distinguished by the heavy use of ornamental brackets under wide cornices and under door and window hoods.
  • All roof cornices or other ornamental stonework must be removed prior to pulling walls down.
British Dictionary definitions for cornices


  1. the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
  2. a continuous horizontal projecting course or moulding at the top of a wall, building, etc
an overhanging ledge of snow formed by the wind on the edge of a mountain ridge, cliff, or corrie
(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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for cornices
noun's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cornices



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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for cornices


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
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cornice

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cornices

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cornices

Nearby words for cornices