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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
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. 2014.
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Examples for sconces
  • Candle sconces on either side of the mirror add drama at night.
  • These sculptural sconces add elegance and character, too.
  • Mirrors, sconces, and other wall accessories further define each space.
  • Torpedo-shaped candelabra bulbs fit nicely in small light fixtures such as sconces and designer lamps.
  • Homes sit empty with wires dangling out of their stucco exteriors where sconces should be.
  • It was crammed with booty: a pair of oxidized bronze sconces, some antique iron nail pullers, a laser printer.
  • Walls and pillars wear attractive cobalt-blue sconces for mood lighting.
  • Sprays of greenery dusted with snow cascade from each of the wall sconces.
  • T here are no cane detectable screens under some of the wall sconces on both sides of the spectator lounge.
  • It is lighted by period-type fixtures suspended from the ceiling and with wall-mounted sconces.
British Dictionary definitions for sconces

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
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Word Origin and History for sconces

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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Encyclopedia Article for sconces

sconce

wooden or metal bracket affixed to a wall and designed to hold candles, lamps, or other types of illumination. One of the earliest forms of lighting fixtures for domestic and public use, sconces first appeared in Classical antiquity, but more elaborate variants were stimulated by the custom that arose in the European Middle Ages of affixing metal sconces holding candles to the walls of churches when they were consecrated. Various elaborations and refinements were added in the 17th century, including mirrors or metal reflectors to intensify the light.

Learn more about sconce with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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11
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