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mantel

[man-tl] /ˈmæn tl/
noun
1.
a construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney breast in a more or less decorative manner.
2.
Also called mantelshelf. a shelf above a fireplace opening.
Also, mantle.
Also called mantelpiece
[man-tl-pees] /ˈmæn tlˌpis/ (Show IPA),
mantlepiece.
Origin
1480-1490
1480-90; earlier mantell mantelet; variant of mantle
Can be confused
mantel, mantle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mantelpiece
  • Arrange the candles in groups on a mantelpiece or table, or give them as holiday gifts.
  • Archer mounted the stairs, turned up the light, and put a match to the brackets on each side of the library mantelpiece.
  • The ashes, in matching urns, are on the mantelpiece.
  • The parlor's mantelpiece has fluted pilasters to either side, with three blank tablets on its broad frieze.
  • The mantelpiece, unfortunately, suffered rather severely.
  • The mantelpiece in the northwest bedroom has a simple shelf supported by a plain frieze atop wide, simple pilasters.
  • In the smoking-room there is a mantelpiece composed entirely of cigar boxes, which the owner built one rainy day.
British Dictionary definitions for mantelpiece

mantelpiece

/ˈmæntəlˌpiːs/
noun
1.
Also called mantel shelf, chimneypiece. a shelf above a fireplace often forming part of the mantel
2.
another word for mantel (sense 1)

mantel

/ˈmæntəl/
noun
1.
a wooden or stone frame around the opening of a fireplace, together with its decorative facing
2.
Also called mantel shelf. a shelf above this frame
Word Origin
C15: from French, variant of mantle
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 mantelpiece
n.

1680s, from mantel + piece (n.).

mantel

n.

c.1200, "short, loose, sleeveless cloak," variant of mantle (q.v.). Sense of "movable shelter for soldiers besieging a fort" is from 1520s. Meaning "timber or stone supporting masonry above a fireplace" first recorded 1510s, a shortened form of Middle English mantiltre "mantletree" (late 15c.).

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

mantel

hood or other similar projection, usually ornamented, that surrounds the opening of a fireplace and directs smoke up to the chimney flue. See chimneypiece.

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