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From en- +‎ sconce, “to place in a sconce (fortification)”.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɛnˈskɒns/
  • (US) enPR: ĭn-skäns', IPA(key): /ɛnˈskɑns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒns


ensconce (third-person singular simple present ensconces, present participle ensconcing, simple past and past participle ensconced)

  1. (transitive) To place in a secure environment.
    • c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iii]:
      She shall not see me, I will ensconce mee behinde the Arras.
    • 1876, Mark Twain, chapter IX, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
      They found the sharp new heap they were seeking, and ensconced themselves within the protection of three great elms that grew in a bunch within a few feet of the grave.
    • 2014 January 21, Hermione Hoby, “Julia Roberts interview for August: Osage County – 'I might actually go to hell for this ...': Julia Roberts reveals why her violent, Oscar-nominated performance in August: Osage County made her feel 'like a terrible person' [print version: 'I might actually go to hell for this ...' (18 January 2014, p. R4)]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1]:
      The film grossed $464 million worldwide, ensconcing her in the Hollywood A-list.
  2. (intransitive) To settle comfortably.
    • 1941 June, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, pages 261, 263:
      So many invitations had been extended to this premiére that the train was pretty nearly full; [...] the press and other guests distributed themselves over the remaining accommodation, and I ensconced myself in a facing window seat in one of the compartments of the third-class brake next the tender.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm [], London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC:
      [] Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam.

Usage notes[edit]

Particularly used in the form ensconced, as in “she was ensconced in an armchair.”



Further reading[edit]