cornice

1 of 2

noun

cor·​nice ˈkȯr-nəs How to pronounce cornice (audio)
-nish
1
a
: the molded and projecting horizontal member that crowns an architectural composition see column illustration
b
: a top course that crowns a wall
2
: a decorative band of metal or wood used to conceal curtain fixtures
3
: an overhanging mass of windblown snow or ice usually on a ridge

Illustration of cornice

Illustration of cornice
  • c cornice 1a

cornice

2 of 2

verb

corniced; cornicing

transitive verb

: to furnish or crown with a cornice

Examples of cornice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Blowing snow can create wind loading and build up into cornices, creating an overhang that can eventually fall and trigger an avalanche below. CBS News, 11 Jan. 2024 The tree line ends at 1,500 feet, so unlike in the northeast or the Rockies the view consisted only of icy cornices, peaks, and gullies sheathed in a penetrating blanket of snow. David Amsden, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Jan. 2024 The two-story building, which a century ago housed the Borgstrom pharmacy and Swenson Bros. furniture, retains its original brick exterior and cornice detailing, despite heavy interior modifications over the decades. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, 30 Jan. 2024 The firm incorporated beautiful moldings and cornices, coffered ceilings, custom furniture, textured wallpaper, and light fixtures ornamented with glass pendants that add a delicate touch. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 12 Oct. 2023 Inside, the place is awash with tons of head-turning period details like soaring high ceilings with elaborate cornices, decorative wall and ceiling paneling, picture rails, parquet wood flooring, and ornate fireplaces. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 27 Nov. 2023 Ionescu came up with a 300-pound, stainless-steel basket arrangement to sit atop the cornice, one that could be lifted away temporarily for façade maintenance and the like. Curbed, 17 May 2023 The copper cornice and bay window are a nod to the original owner Thomas Whyte, who owned National Cornice Works. Kathy Orton, Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2022 The architecture within those cities depends heavily on symmetries and proportions derived from unimpaired human bodies and average physiology — windows as eyes, doors as mouths, cornices as hair or headgear, and so on. Curbed, 19 Jan. 2023
Verb
Naturally, there are a ton of period details inside, including ornate fireplaces and ceiling cornicing. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 28 Apr. 2023 To match the profile and ornamentation of the lost cornice, which features rosettes alternating with concave brackets, Allen photographed the sister cornice at 31 Greene. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, 24 Apr. 2020 Similarly he had missing sections of hand carved cornicing restored. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, 2 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cornice.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

earlier cornish, borrowed from Middle French corniche, borrowed from Italian cornice "cornice on a column," earlier, "ledge projecting from a rock wall," perhaps going back to Latin cornīc-, cornīx "crow" (assuming a figurative sense "projection, something jutting out" in Vulgar Latin), derivative (with -īc-, -ix, particularizing suffix), from a base *kor-n-, perhaps from the oblique of an n-stem *kor-ōn seen in Greek korṓnē "crow"; the base *kor- "corvid," with different suffixation, seen also in Umbrian curnaco "crow," Greek korak-, kórax "raven," Latin corvus "raven," and, if going back to Indo-European *ḱor-, Russian soróka "magpie," Polish sroka, Serbian & Croatian svrȁka (with secondary -v-), Lithuanian šárka (from Balto-Slavic *ḱor-Hk-), Sanskrit śāri- "kind of bird"

Note: For an association between something projecting and a corvid cf. the etymology of corbel entry 1. Italian cornice has also been seen as an outcome of Greek korōnid-, korōnís "crook-beaked, curved, curved pen stroke, copestone (in the lexicographer Hesychius)," though phonologically this is implausible. The base *kor-/*ḱor- is ultimately onomatopoeic, perhaps an expansion of *kr-, the initial of other independently derived Indo-European words for corvid birds (cf. crow entry 1, raven entry 1).

Verb

derivative of cornice entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1744, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cornice was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near cornice

Cite this Entry

“Cornice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cornice. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

cornice

noun
cor·​nice
ˈkȯr-nəs
1
: the decorative piece that forms the top edge of a building or column and extends beyond it
2
: an ornamental molding where the walls meet the ceiling of a room
3
: a decorative band of metal or wood to conceal curtain fixtures

More from Merriam-Webster on cornice

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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