en·sconce | \in-ˈskän(t)s \
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 & Antonyms for ensconce


bury, cache, conceal, hide, secrete


display, exhibit

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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

To keep Wang past retirement age, Xi had him step down from the Politburo Standing Committee while ensconcing him in what had been a relatively meaningless ceremonial post. Washington Post, "‘Mr. Fix-It’: China’s new VP has tackled thorniest of crises," 18 Mar. 2018 Prices have been firmly ensconced between $60 and $70. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Oil Prices Hit Three-Year High on Geopolitical Risk," 11 Apr. 2018 The roster is a little deeper and firmly ensconced in Campbell’s system. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Oklahoma's still the team to beat in the Big 12," 9 July 2018 It was further ensconced in 2014 at a summit in Wales when all the nations that were not meeting the 2% target made a pledged to reach the mark within a decade. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "President Trump Says NATO Allies Owe the U.S. Money. He's Wrong," 11 July 2018 Islamic State and other extremist groups that target Europe are ensconced in lawless areas throughout Libya. James Marson, WSJ, "After Military Push in Syria, Russia Plays Both Sides in Libya," 7 June 2018 Amaya was unavailable for a pregame interview because he was ensconced in a meeting to learn Yu Darvish’s array of pitches. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Yu Darvish all set for rehab start with South Bend Cubs," 25 June 2018 No longer a broke, self-destructive wreck, actor Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) is happily ensconced in her role as Soviet heel Zoya the Destroyer. Judy Berman, Time, "Glow Fades But Stays Fun in Its Second Season," 21 June 2018 Police have now released about 1,000 calls to 911 connected with the shooting — along with witness statements, interviews with victims, traffic surveillance footage and body camera footage of police breaching the room where Paddock was ensconced. David Montero, latimes.com, "Carnage, chaos and terror: Police videos of Las Vegas shooting reveal a war zone," 14 June 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

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for ensconce

The first known use of ensconce was in 1594

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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

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