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

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 But rodents weren't the only thing mongooses would eat: birds, reptiles, fruits, and other native species proved tasty to these transplants, and they are now ensconced, unwanted residents in the Hawaiian wild. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Invasive species, explained," 5 June 2019 Flash-forward to 1992, with Jean (now Turner) firmly ensconced as one of the professor’s famous X-Men. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: 'Dark Phoenix' isn't the revival the 'X-Men' series needed," 4 June 2019 Christianity entered China as early as the seventh century, though it wouldn’t be firmly ensconced until after the arrival of the Jesuits in the 16th century. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "China’s Worst Western Import," 24 Sep. 2018 For now, her baby is happily ensconced in a year-round day care. Amy Joyce, Washington Post, "Summer is a logistical and financial puzzle that’s driving parents crazy," 25 June 2019 Mixing old and new, SummerFest’s 34th season will be ensconced in its brand-new home, The Conrad, with performances in the lovely Baker-Baum Concert Hall and The JAI, a smaller, casual club-like space. Beth Woodwriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Summer arts 2019 | Classical music: SummerFest, Bayside Summer Nights, Hausmann Quartet and more," 15 June 2019 Café Cour, the new restaurant from the owners of Carmo, is ensconced in courtyard of the renovated Historic New Orleans Collection. nola.com, "Café Cour, at the Historic New Orleans Collection, celebrates city’s past," 13 June 2019 In fact, Huawei has been ensconced in the German telecommunications landscape for decades. Clifford Coonan, The Christian Science Monitor, "At stake in Huawei’s German bid, economic gain vs. national security," 6 June 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

21 Jul 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 complain fretfully

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