/skons/, n.
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.
[1350-1400; ME sconce, sconse ( < OF esconce) < ML sconsa, aph. var. of absconsa, n. use of fem. ptp. of abscondere to conceal; see ABSCOND]
/skons/, n., v., sconced, sconcing.
1. Fort. a small detached fort or defense work, as to defend a pass, bridge, etc.
2. a protective screen or shelter.
3. Fort. to protect with a sconce.
4. Obs. to protect; shelter.
[1565-75; < D schans < G Schanze, orig. bundle of wood; cf. ensconse]
/skons/, v., sconced, sconcing, n.
1. (at English universities, esp. formerly) to fine (an undergraduate) for a breach of rules or etiquette.
2. a fine so imposed.
[1610-20; orig. uncert.]
/skons/, n.
1. the head or skull.
2. sense or wit.
[1560-70; orig. uncert.]

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 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.

      Carvers and gilders made sconces part of their stock-in-trade; and, as more care was lavished on interior design, sconces were influenced by the overall style of the rooms for which they were intended, assuming exuberant Rococo, Eastern, or Classical shapes. In these more elaborate sconces (which could also include clocks as well as mirrors), the backplate was usually known as a girandole and came to signify a certain pretentiousness. Although wall brackets were used to support gaslights in the 19th century, these forms could not properly be described as sconces. The sconce was revived with the invention of electric lighting, which, combined with an appetite for the picturesque, stimulated the production of sconces supporting imitation wax candles topped by specially designed, flame-shaped bulbs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sconce — Sconce, n. [D. schans, OD. schantse, perhaps from OF. esconse a hiding place, akin to esconser to hide, L. absconsus, p. p. of abscondere. See {Abscond}, and cf. {Ensconce}, {Sconce} a candlestick.] 1. A fortification, or work for defense; a fort …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sconce — sconce, scons(e), skons ou skun(k)s n. m. Fourrure de la moufette. ⇒SCONCE, SCONS(E), SKUNKS, SKUNGS, (SCONS, SCONSE)subst. masc. Fourrure fournie par les carnass …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sconce — Sconce, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Sconced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Sconcing}.] 1. To shut up in a sconce; to imprison; to insconce. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Immure him, sconce him, barricade him in t. Marston. [1913 Webster] 2. To mulct; to fine. [Obs.] Milton …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sconce — may refer to any of the following: * Sconce (fortification), a military fortification * Sconce (light fixture) * Sconcing, imposing a penalty in the form of drink * SCoNCe, Secure Computing and Networking Center, University of California, Irvine …   Wikipedia

  • sconce — index fine, penalty Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • sconce — [skɔns US ska:ns] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: esconse screen for a light , from escondre to hide , from Latin abscondere; ABSCOND] an object that is attached to a wall and holds ↑candles or electric lights …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sconce — [ skans ] noun count an object attached to a wall for holding a light or candle …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sconce — late 14c., candlestick with a screen, aphetic of O.Fr. esconse lantern, hiding place, from M.L. sconsa, from L. absconsa, fem. pp. of abscondere to hide. Meaning metal bracket candlestick fastened to a wall is recorded from mid 15c …   Etymology dictionary

  • sconce — ► NOUN ▪ a candle holder attached to a wall with an ornamental bracket. ORIGIN Old French esconse lantern , from Latin absconsa laterna dark lantern …   English terms dictionary

  • sconce — sconce1 [skäns] n. [ME sconse, aphetic < OFr esconse, dark lantern < pp. of escondre, to hide < L abscondere: see ABSCOND] a bracket attached to a wall for holding a candle, candles, or the like sconce2 [skäns] n. [Du schans, fortress,… …   English World dictionary

  • sconce — Effectively, English now only has one word sconce in general use, although others have come and gone in the past. That is the noun meaning ‘candlestick’ or ‘wall bracket for a light’ [14]. It originally denoted a ‘lantern’ or ‘covered… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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