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sconce1

[skons] /skɒns/
noun
1.
a bracket for candles or other lights, placed on a wall, mirror, picture frame, etc.
2.
the hole or socket of a candlestick, for holding the candle.
Origin of sconce1
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English sconce, sconse (< Old French esconce) < Medieval Latin scōnsa, aphetic variant of abscōnsa, noun use of feminine past participle of abscondere to conceal; see abscond

sconce2

[skons] /skɒns/
noun
1.
Fortification. a small detached fort or defense work, as to defend a pass, bridge, etc.
2.
a protective screen or shelter.
verb (used with object), sconced, sconcing.
3.
Fortification. to protect with a sconce.
4.
Obsolete. to protect; shelter.
Origin
1565-75; < Dutch schans < German Schanze, orig. bundle of wood; compare ensconse

sconce3

[skons] /skɒns/
verb (used with object), sconced, sconcing.
1.
(at English universities, especially formerly) to fine (an undergraduate) for a breach of rules or etiquette.
noun
2.
a fine so imposed.
Origin
1610-20; origin uncertain

sconce4

[skons] /skɒns/
noun
1.
the head or skull.
2.
sense or wit.
Origin
1560-70; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for sconce

sconce1

/skɒns/
noun
1.
a bracket fixed to a wall for holding candles or lights
2.
a flat candlestick with a handle
Word Origin
C14: from Old French esconse hiding place, lantern, or from Late Latin sconsa, from absconsa dark lantern

sconce2

/skɒns/
noun
1.
a small protective fortification, such as an earthwork
Word Origin
C16: from Dutch schans, from Middle High German schanze bundle of brushwood

sconce3

/skɒns/
verb (transitive)
1.
to challenge (a fellow student) on the grounds of a social misdemeanour to drink a large quantity of beer without stopping
2.
(obsolete) to fine (a student) for some minor misdemeanour
noun
3.
the act of sconcing
4.
a mug or tankard used in sconcing
Word Origin
C17: of obscure origin

sconce4

/skɒns/
noun (archaic)
1.
the head or skull
2.
sense, brain, or wit
Word Origin
C16: probably jocular use of sconce1
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 sconce
n.

late 14c., "candlestick with a screen," a shortening of Old French esconse "lantern, hiding place," from Medieval Latin sconsa, from Latin absconsa, fem. past participle of abscondere "to hide" (see abscond). Meaning "metal bracket-candlestick fastened to a wall" is recorded from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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