• WordNet 3.6
    • n sconce a decorative wall bracket for holding candles or other sources of light
    • n sconce a candle or flaming torch secured in a sconce
    • n sconce a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate
    • n sconce a shelter or screen providing protection from enemy fire or from the weather
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Sconce A fixed seat or shelf.
    • Sconce A fortification, or work for defense; a fort. "No sconce or fortress of his raising was ever known either to have been forced, or yielded up, or quitted."
    • Sconce A fragment of a floe of ice.
    • Sconce A hut for protection and shelter; a stall. "One that . . . must raise a sconce by the highway and sell switches."
    • Sconce A piece of armor for the head; headpiece; helmet. "I must get a sconce for my head."
    • Sconce A poll tax; a mulct or fine.
    • Sconce A protection for a light; a lantern or cased support for a candle; hence, a fixed hanging or projecting candlestick. "Tapers put into lanterns or sconces of several-colored, oiled paper, that the wind might not annoy them.""Golden sconces hang not on the walls."
    • Sconce (Arch) A squinch.
    • Sconce Fig.: The head; the skull; also, brains; sense; discretion. "To knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel."
    • Sconce Hence, the circular tube, with a brim, in a candlestick, into which the candle is inserted.
    • Sconce To mulct; to fine.
    • Sconce To shut up in a sconce; to imprison; to insconce. "Immure him, sconce him, barricade him in 't."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sconce A lantern with a protecting shade; a dark lantern; any lantern.
    • n sconce A candlestick having the form of a bracket projecting from a wall or column; also, a group of such candlesticks, forming, with an appliqué or flat, somewhat ornamented disk or plaque which seems to adhere to the wall, a decorative object. These were most commonly of brass during the years when sconces were most in use.
    • n sconce The socket for the candle in a candlestick of any form, especially when having a projecting rim around it.
    • n sconce A cover; a shelter; a protection; specifically, a screen or partition to cover or protect anything; a shed or hut for protection from the weather; a covered stall.
    • n sconce A work for defense, detached from the main works for some local object; a bulwark; a block-house; a fort, as for the defense of a pass or river.
    • n sconce A cover or protection for the head; a headpiece; a helmet.
    • n sconce Hence The head; the skull; the cranium, especially the top of it.
    • n sconce Brains; sense; wits; judgment or discretion.
    • n sconce A mulct; a fine. See sconce, v. t., 3.
    • n sconce A seat in old-fashioned open chimney-places; a chimney-seat.
    • n sconce A fragment of an ice-floe.
    • sconce To fortify or defend with a sconce or block-house.
    • sconce Same as ensconce.
    • sconce To assess or tax at so much per head; mulct; fine; specifically, in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, to put the name of in the college buttery-books by way of fine; mulct in a tankard of ale or the like for some offense. See the quotations.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sconce skons a bulwark: a small fort: a protective headpiece, hence the head, the skull, brains, wits: a covered stall: a fine: a seat in an old-fashioned open chimney-place, a chimney-seat: a fragment of an icefloe
    • v.t Sconce to fortify: to tax, to fine lightly, at Oxford and Cambridge, for some irregularity
    • n Sconce skons the part of a candlestick for the candle: a hanging candlestick with a mirror to reflect the light: a lantern.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. esconse—Low L. absconsa, a dark-lantern—abscondĕre, to hide.


In literature:

He has cracked but two sconces since we left, and these were on my behalf.
"Both Sides the Border" by G. A. Henty
Dr. Hansombody held a sconce aloft to guide him.
"The Mayor of Troy" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
He placed the candle in a sconce on the wall, and then turned to the three.
"Sue, A Little Heroine" by L. T. Meade
The sexton took the candle from the sconce.
"Rookwood" by William Harrison Ainsworth
Also, the head; whence Shakspeare's pun in making Dromio talk of having his sconce ensconced.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Greta had lifted the child from the sconce.
"A Son of Hagar" by Sir Hall Caine
The door slowly opened, and a man bearing a tallow dip in a battered sconce showed himself in the entry.
"Border Ghost Stories" by Howard Pease
Candles in the chandelier; candles in the sconces; candles on the mantelpiece.
"Cleek, the Master Detective" by Thomas W. Hanshew
But Alice had no light except her fire and two or three candles in old sconces.
"The Beloved Woman" by Kathleen Norris
Candles burned in sconces around the walls and in two chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
"The Saracen: Land of the Infidel" by Robert Shea

In poetry:

When he went to school,
It was the rule
(Though 'twas hard to say he was really a fool)
To send him at once,
So thick was his sconce,
To the block that was kept for the greatest dunce.
"Jack And Jill" by Clara Doty Bates

In news:

Le Corbusier's Applique de Marseille sconce in steel painted matte gray by Nemo, 39-0362-372493.
Featuring a versatile range of styles, sizes and lamp sources, the beaded shades can also be specified as matching wall sconces.
They're everywhere: chicly mounted in foyer walls, hung from the ceiling, and positioned in wall sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps, all of them poised to illuminate the immaculate IKEA set.
Nate removed the draped window sconces and added cream wood blinds.
A warm glow envelopes the entire space from the wall sconces and the candles on each table.
300lbs Sconce Stolen from Oshkosh Masonic Temple.
OSHKOSH, Wis.--Oshkosh police say a large and heavy metal sconce was taken from the steps of the Masonic Temple on Washington Avenue over the weekend between Saturday, September 29th and Sunday, September 30th.
Almont Wall Sconce by Troy Lighting.
One of the season's most iconic images—a branch with leaves—is recreated in this Almont wall sconce by Troy Lighting.
If you're like me you have piles of wood from past projects just waiting for a new life, I have a really simple wall sconce you can make with some scrap wood.
Well, Jason's at it again: He shared his own how-to using our project uploader tool for the Found Object Wall Sconce , and I wanted to learn a bit more about it.
Got any wired sconces I've missed.
The brasserie 's sconces come not from the Haeringer collection but from the National Cathedral.
Pictured from left, Keith Walker, James Nelson and Matt Sconce filming at the Met Cinema recently.
Aaron Caramanis uses seashells to make an innovative wall sconce.