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

Meanwhile, Uranus’s entire polar region is currently ensconced in white, like a cockeyed celestial skullcap. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Hubble Observes Ice Giant Vortexes and Polar Storms on Neptune and Uranus," 9 Feb. 2019 On Memorial Day morning, Dr. Victor Cha was not, as many had expected last year, ensconced in the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Joseph Hincks / Seoul, Time, "'We’re Reaching the Climax of This Issue.' Korea Expert Victor Cha on the Prospects of Peace on the Peninsula," 30 May 2018 Now, Zuckerberg was ensconced in a massive building with a garden on the roof, part of an even larger campus that sprawled all over and was still growing. Kara Swisher, Recode, "Zuckerberg: The Recode interview," 18 July 2018 But the reader soon becomes ensconced not only in the detective book but in the editor’s own mystery as well. WSJ, "Who Read What in 2018: Actors and Entertainers," 10 Dec. 2018 The big, rounded headboard and footboard, plus the way the bed's pushed into the corner against the wall, give me a similar feeling of structure, of being ensconced, like crawling into a shoe box. Barbara King, House Beautiful, "Inside Fashion Designer Michael Bastian's Small, Cozy Bedroom," 17 July 2013 More than once, my brothers have accused me of shuttering myself away from the world to stay safely ensconced in my condo with my pets. Erin Auerbach, Good Housekeeping, "I'm Too Obsessed With My Pets," 23 July 2015 Renovations took place, and now Princess Eugenie and her fiancé are now happily ensconced in their new home. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank Will Live Next to Meghan & Harry After the Royal Wedding," 3 Oct. 2018 Coming off his best start of the season (six innings, four hits, one run, six whiffs at Texas), Triggs is ensconced in the rotation of a team that is showing moxie and promise. Lawr Michaels, USA TODAY, "Fantasy baseball sizzlers, fizzlers: Franchy Cordero powers forward," 1 May 2018

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

17 Mar 2019

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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 corrupt or become corrupted

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