en·​sconce | \ in-ˈskän(t)s How to pronounce ensconce (audio) \
ensconced; ensconcing

Definition of ensconce

transitive verb

1 : shelter, conceal ensconced themselves within the protection of three great elms— Mark Twain
2 : establish, settle ensconced in a new job

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Synonyms for ensconce


install, lodge, nestle, perch, roost, settle

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Did You Know?

You might think of "sconce" as a type of candleholder or lamp, but the word can also refer to a defensive fortification, usually one made of earth. Originally, then, a person who was "ensconced" was enclosed in or concealed by such a structure, out of harm's way. The earliest writer to apply the verb "ensconce" with the general sense of "hide" was William Shakespeare. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the character Falstaff, hoping to avoid detection when he is surprised during an amorous moment with Mrs. Ford, says "She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras." (An arras is a tapestry or wall hanging.)

Examples of ensconce in a Sentence

The sculpture is safely ensconced behind glass. He ensconced himself in front of the television.

Recent Examples on the Web

Its follow-up, Douglas, currently ensconced for five weeks at New York City’s Daryl Roth Theater, feels like both a natural extension of Nanette and a gentle buffering of it (though gentle, here, is always relative). Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Hannah Gadsby brings her shrewd discomfort comedy to new show Douglas," 26 July 2019 Before the Giants clubhouse was reconfigured, Bumgarner was firmly ensconced in Country Corner, with Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Madison Bumgarner has been the Giants’ sure thing. Until now," 22 July 2019 Ferdinand had his daughter ensconced at the royal palace in Tordesillas in 1509 along with her youngest daughter, Catherine. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Was Catherine of Aragon's Sister, Juana la Loca, Really Like?," 10 June 2019 Though Zsa Zsa and Eva were ensconced in the U.S., their family was living in Budapest when the Nazis invaded. Sam Gillette, PEOPLE.com, "Zsa Zsa Gabor's Glamorous and Shocking Life: From Nine Husbands to Her Mental Health Battle," 30 July 2019 The Alps came through the clubhouse door to a mild effusion of hollers and hellos from the handful of patrons already ensconced. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 No matter who wins on Sunday, the future direction of the country — relatively stable, if still recovering, and relatively comfortably ensconced in the European Union — is unlikely to change. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Tsipras, Having Changed Greece, Now Seems Poised to Lose It," 5 July 2019 He can always be found ensconced in his alcove, not working. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 They could just as easily be ensconced in your den, hunched over Playstation while joking, joshing and jabbing with each other as only best buds can. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Desus Nice and Kid Mero bring their live act to Miami," 5 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ensconce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ensconce

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ensconce

en- + sconce entry 2

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Statistics for ensconce

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ensconce

The first known use of ensconce was in 1594

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More Definitions for ensconce



English Language Learners Definition of ensconce

: to firmly place or hide (someone or something)

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More from Merriam-Webster on ensconce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ensconce

Spanish Central: Translation of ensconce

Nglish: Translation of ensconce for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ensconce

What made you want to look up ensconce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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