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Cornice, Wainwright Building, St. Louis (Louis Sullivan)
A snow cornice.


From Middle French corniche or Italian cornice, from Latin cornīx (crow).[1]


  • (file)


cornice (plural cornices)

  1. (architecture) A horizontal architectural element of a building, projecting forward from the main walls, originally used as a means of directing rainwater away from the building's walls.
  2. A decorative element applied at the topmost part of the wall of a room, as with a crown molding.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 3, page 113:
      That ceiling was covered with square compartments,[...] It was supported by a gilded cornice, carved into a thousand curious shapes and emblems, among which the horned wolf, the crest of the Avonleigh family, was conspicuous.
    • 1926, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist[1]:
      Challenger looked up at the cornice and round at the skirting.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess[2]:
      The half-dozen pieces […] were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids. […]  The bed was the most extravagant piece.  Its graceful cane halftester rose high towards the cornice and was so festooned in carved white wood that the effect was positively insecure, as if the great couch were trimmed with icing sugar.
  3. A decorative element at the topmost portion of certain pieces of furniture, as with a highboy.
  4. (geography, mountaineering) An overhanging edge of snow on a ridge or the crest of a mountain and along the sides of gullies.
    Synonym: snow cornice
    • 1999, Harish Kapadia, “Ascents in the Panch Chuli Group”, in Across Peaks & Passes in Kumaun Himalaya, New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 136:
      Looking to the east we could see Api and the mountains of west Nepal, shapely snow peaks in the distance, while in the immediate foreground, much lower but still dramatic, were the peaks of Panch Chuli IV and V (III was hidden by the lip of a huge cornice), Telkot and Nagling, all of them unclimbed, all steep and challenging.

See also[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


cornice (third-person singular simple present cornices, present participle cornicing, simple past and past participle corniced)

  1. (transitive) To furnish or decorate with a cornice.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “cornice”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.




From Ancient Greek κορωνίς (korōnís, curved line), influenced by Latin cornīx from the same root.[1]


  • IPA(key): /korˈni.t͡ʃe/
  • Rhymes: -itʃe
  • Hyphenation: cor‧nì‧ce


cornice f (plural cornici)

  1. frame
  2. (architecture) cornice
    Synonym: cornicione
  3. ledge
  4. (figuratively) background, setting

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ cornice in – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana





  1. ablative singular of cōrnīx



cornice f (plural cornice)

  1. Alternative form of cornișă