ensconce

verb

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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

You might think of a 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. One of the earliest writers 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 And now anonymous surrender, i.e., safe haven law, is ensconced in every U.S. state. Maria Laurino, The New Republic, 29 June 2023 For some perspective, though, consider that Licht is leaving for reasons that look like misdemeanors next to the routine atrocities at Fox News, where the management team appears ensconced after a $787.5 million settlement over knowing falsehoods that defamed Dominion Voting Systems. Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 7 June 2023 These small agricultural towns, founded by Spanish settlers and missionaries in the 18th century, are today ensconced in an agricultural landscape that collectively produces 28 percent of the nation’s strawberries, 57 percent of its celery, and 70 percent of its lettuce. Jeremy Miller, WIRED, 18 Feb. 2023 But the Bonettis were different — ensconced on a typical street in Maryland, living what appeared to be a typical American life. Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post, 7 June 2023 The Mammals performed, and Merenda described what felt like a magical evening, the mountain ensconced in fog. Lindsay Crudele, BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2023 These days, guests awaiting an audience are able to wander the vast main floor in relative peace, since Donatella herself is now ensconced upstairs in a brand-new suite—an oasis of serenity created by annexing the apartment directly above. Anita Sarsidi, ELLE Decor, 12 May 2023 Compounding the upheaval, James, now ensconced as the third Laird of Rossie, frequently neglected to pay the allowance that had been bequeathed to his half brothers and half sister: some people’s blood was apparently thicker than others’. David Grann, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2023 Once ensconced at the Swissotel in Tallinn, the women hear the fateful knock knock knock at the door. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 28 Feb. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ensconce was in 1594

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Dictionary Entries Near ensconce

Cite this Entry

“Ensconce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ensconce. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

ensconce

verb
en·​sconce in-ˈskän(t)s How to pronounce ensconce (audio)
ensconced; ensconcing
1
: to place or hide securely : conceal
ensconced myself behind a tree
2
: to establish comfortably : settle snugly
ensconced in a new house

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