sconce

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

A modern style of sconce.
An older style of sconce.

From Middle English sconce, sconse (candlestick or lantern (with screen)), from Old French esconse (lantern), from Latin absconsus (hidden), perfect passive participle of abscondō (hide).[1][2] Cognate with abscond.

Noun[edit]

sconce (plural sconces)

  1. A fixture for a light, which holds it and provides a screen against wind or against a naked flame or lightbulb.
    1. A candlestick (holder for a candle, especially a circular tube, with a brim, into which a candle is inserted), either with a handle for carrying, or with a bracket for attaching to a wall.
      • 1858, Mrs. Oliphant, Laird of Norlaw I. v. 55:
        Taking the candle [] she stood with the little flat brass sconce in her hand.
      • 1859, W. Collins, Queen of Hearts (1875), page 41:
        This strange scene was lightd up by candles in high and havy brass sconces.
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Unclear. Perhaps a use of sconce (light fixture) or sconce (fortification), but seemingly older than the latter

Noun[edit]

sconce (plural sconces)

  1. A head or a skull.
    • c. 1599-1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, scene 1:
      Why does he suffer this rude knave now, to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery?
    • 1818, John Keats, On Some Skulls in Beauly Abbey, near Inverness:
      Long time this sconce a helmet wore,
      But sickness smites the conscience sore;
      He broke his sword, and hither bore
      His gear and plunder,
      Took to the cowl,—then rav’d and swore
      At his damn’d blunder!
    • 1824, Galignani's magazine and Paris monthly review, page 129:
      [] roll the rider and his horse in the dust, or endeavour to drive their lance through the bars of the visor into the bull's eye of their friend's sconce, []
    • 1867, Benjamin Brierley, Marlocks of Merriton, page 56:
      [] ; an old blue jacket, that at one time had been a coat, looped over a red plush “singlet” of perhaps twenty or even forty years' wear : his almost hairless sconce bared to the sun, from which it had received an imperishable coating of tan, he was an object that few would pass without hailing with observations, [] he wiped his shining sconce [...] and raised his visor []
  2. A poll tax; a mulct or fine.
    • 2011, Allan Mallinson, On His Majesty's Service:
      I'll gladly pay a sconce
  3. (Oxford University slang) An act of sconcing; very similar to a fine at Cambridge University, though a sconce is the act of issuing a penalty rather than the penalty itself.
    Synonym: (Oxford University slang, uncommon) sconcing.
    • 2014 February 25, James Burns, “Fishing for Sconces”, in funnywomen.com[1] (blog), archived from the original on 27 January 2022:
      The table opposite started singing "shit sconce, shit scone[sic], shit sconce, shit sconce"

Verb[edit]

sconce (third-person singular simple present sconces, present participle sconcing, simple past and past participle sconced)

  1. (obsolete) To impose a fine, a forfeit, or a mulct.
    • 1898, Rev. A. Clark, University of Oxford, College Histories: Lincoln (page 73)
      The Rector sconced him in the buttery-book, but Webberly “wiped it off, with irreverent and unbeseeming language.” For this, he had to apologise, and go without his commons for three months.
  2. (Oxford University slang) During a meal or as part of a drinking game, to announce some (usually outrageous) deed such that anyone who has done it must drink; similar to I have never; commonly associated with crewdates; very similar to fining at Cambridge University.
    I sconce anyone who has ever…

Etymology 3[edit]

Borrowed from Middle Dutch schans, cognate with German Schanze.[2]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

sconce (plural sconces)

  1. A type of small fort or other fortification, especially as built to defend a pass or ford.
  2. (obsolete) A hut for protection and shelter; a stall.
  3. (architecture) A squinch.
  4. A fragment of a floe of ice.
    • 1856, Elisha Kent Kane, Arctic Explorations
      Just then, a broad sconce-piece or low water-washed berg came driving up from the southward. The thought flashed upon me of one of our escapes in Melville Bay; and as the sconce moved rapidly close alongside us, McGary managed to plant an anchor on its slope and hold on to it by a whale-line.
  5. A fixed seat or shelf.
Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

sconce (third-person singular simple present sconces, present participle sconcing, simple past and past participle sconced)

  1. (obsolete) to shut within a sconce; to imprison.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  2. 2.0 2.1 ensconce The Lexiteria & alphaDictionary

Further reading[edit]


Italian[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈskon.t͡ʃe/
  • Rhymes: -ontʃe
  • Hyphenation: scón‧ce

Adjective[edit]

sconce

  1. feminine plural of sconcio