a device for applying a pattern, design, words, etc., to a surface, consisting of a thin sheet of cardboard, metal, or other material from which figures or letters have been cut out, a coloring substance, ink, etc., being rubbed, brushed, or pressed over the sheet, passing through the perforations and onto the surface.
the letters, designs, etc., produced on a surface by this method.
verb (used with object), stenciled, stenciling or (especially British) stencilled, stencilling.
to mark or paint (a surface) by means of a stencil.
to produce (letters, figures, designs, etc.) by means of a stencil.

1375–1425; earlier stanesile, late Middle English stansele to ornament with diverse colors or spangles < Middle French estanceler, derivative of estencele a spark, ornamental spangle < Vulgar Latin *stincilla, metathetic variant of Latin scintilla scintilla

stenciler; especially British, stenciller, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stencil (ˈstɛnsəl)
1.  a device for applying a design, characters, etc, to a surface, consisting of a thin sheet of plastic, metal, cardboard, etc in which the design or characters have been cut so that ink or paint can be applied through the incisions onto the surface
2.  a decoration, design, or characters produced in this way
vb , -cils, -cilling, -cilled, -cils, -ciling, -ciled
3.  to mark (a surface) with a stencil
4.  to produce (characters or a design) with a stencil
[C14 stanselen to decorate with bright colours, from Old French estenceler, from estencele a spark, from Latin scintilla]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1707, not recorded again until 1848, probably from M.E. stencellen "decorate with bright colors," from M.Fr. estenceler "cover with sparkles or stars, powder with color," from estencele "spark, spangle," from V.L. *stincilla, metathesis of L. scintilla "spark." The verb meaning "to produce a design with
a stencil" is first recorded 1861.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
If you live near an ocean, you might want to stencil a storm drain.
If you didn't want to use the electric pen, you could try cutting a stencil
  with one of those newfangled typewriters.
Partially blocking the light with a negative or a stencil will give you photos
  and patterns.
Stencil a basic measuring system onto the board cover, and you'll never need to
  hunt down a measuring stick.
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