Ensconce vs sconce

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Ensconce and sconce are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, and are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of ensconce and sconce, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Ensconce is means to shelter, to settle comfortably in a cozy place, to establish in a safe place. Ensconce is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are ensconces, ensconced, ensconcing. The word ensconce is derived from the prefix en-, meaning to place in, and sconce, meaning fortification.

A sconce is a candle holder that is attached to the wall. Today, sconce may refer to an electrical fixture attached to the wall in the fashion of a candle holder. A secondary meaning of sconce is a small earthwork or fort that protects a pass or gate. The word sconce is derived from the Latin word absconsa, which means lantern.


The record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and joins his previous album, “Stoney,” in the top 10, where it is still ensconced after 73 weeks on the charts. (The Greenville News)

Our lawmakers could smile Sunday because they know that Democratic Party Chairman and House Speaker Michael Madigan, the man who runs Illinois’ political machine from Chicago’s southwest side, had kept the 2018 version of the Fair Map Amendment safely ensconced in the crypt of his House Rules Committee. (The Rockford Register Star)

“We often end up adding some sort of sconce on each bunk level, so the kids can read,” Ms. Markatos said, noting that wall-mounted shelves can also function as bedside tables. (The New York Times)

The idea of a little wall sconce perched above your nightstand, or as part of a gallery wall, or even right by the entryway where there’s really no room for anything—it’s a nice idea, isn’t it? (Architectural Digest)