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sconce

sconce / skäns/ • n. 1. a candle holder, or a holder of another light source, that is attached to a wall with an ornamental bracket. 2. a flaming torch or candle secured in such a holder. ORIGIN: late Middle English (originally denoting a portable lantern with a screen to protect the flame): shortening of Old French esconse ‘lantern,’ or from medieval Latin sconsa, from Latin absconsa (laterna) ‘dark (lantern)’, literally ‘hidden (lantern)’ (i.e., a lantern with a device for concealing the light), from abscondere ‘to hide.’ sconce2 • n. archaic a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate. ∎  a shelter or screen serving as protection from fire or the weather.

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sconce

sconce.
1. Earthwork or fort, especially in front of a gate or the main defences.

2. Protective screen or shelter.

3. Screen in the sense of a partition, e.g. to define a chapel, etc.

4. Squinch (see dome), in the sense of a small arch across the angle of a square room carrying a superimposed mass (e.g. in a church-tower carrying an octagonal spire).

5. Decorative lamp-bracket attached to a wall.

6. Seat or bench fixed in a screen-wall near a fireplace.

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sconce

sconce1 lantern or screened candlestick carried by a handle XIV; bracket-candlestick XV. Aphetic — OF. esconse (i) hiding-place, (ii) lantern; or — medL. sconsa, aphetic of absconsa, sb. use of fem. pp. of L. abscondere hide.

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sconce

sconce3 (fortif.) small fort or earthwork. XVI. — Du. schans, †schantze brushwood, screen of brushwood for soldiers, earthwork of gabions — (M)HG. schanze, of unkn. orig.

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sconce

sconce4 (Univ. sl.) fine in a tankard of ale, etc., e.g. for breach of discipline or convention. XVII. perh. a joc. ref. to SCONCE2.
Hence sb. XVII.

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sconce

sconce2 (arch. sl.) head. XVI. perh. joc. use of prec.

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sconce

sconceaskance, expanse, finance, Hans, Hanse, manse, nance, Penzance, Romance •underpants • happenstance •advance, Afrikaans, à outrance, chance, dance, enhance, entrance, faience, France, glance, lance, mischance, outdance, perchance, prance, Provence, stance, trance •nuance • tap-dance • square dance •freelance • convenance •cense, commence, common sense, condense, dense, dispense, expense, fence, hence, Hortense, immense, offence (US offense), pence, prepense, pretence (US pretense), sense, spence, suspense, tense, thence, whence •ring-fence • recompense •frankincense •chintz, convince, evince, Linz, mince, Port-au-Prince, prince, quince, rinse, since, Vince, wince •province •bonce, ensconce, nonce, ponce, response, sconce •séance • pièce de résistance •announce, bounce, denounce, flounce, fluid ounce, jounce, mispronounce, ounce, pounce, pronounce, renounce, trounce •dunce, once

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