1 of 2

noun (1)

: a bracket candlestick or group of candlesticks
also : an electric light fixture patterned on a candle sconce
: head, skull


2 of 2

noun (2)

: a detached defensive work

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
From a wooden sconce to illuminate her reading nook, to the spa-esque lighting in her main bath, to her own company’s fixture at the entrance to her den, Williams’ space is awash in A+ bulbs. Katherine Singh,, 1 June 2021 The blue sconce above the sink echoes the island color. Marni Elyse Katz, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 June 2020 Above the bed, a vintage sconce adds a graphic touch while a framed train print checks the box for Isaac's wheel requirement. Chantal Lamers, House Beautiful, 30 Jan. 2023 The studio’s star product, the Up Down sconce — available in more than 1,000 permutations — can be found in buzz-worthy restaurants and hotels from Ibiza to Australia. Suleman Anaya, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2022 In addition to providing practical task lighting, a stylish sconce can act as a piece of jewelry for the home. Julianne Hilmes Bartlett, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 July 2022 In her first day on the stand, earlier this month, Heard testified that Depp had trashed the trailer while screaming at her and appearing to search for something, throwing glasses, sweeping tabletops clear and breaking the sconce with his hand. Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2022 The two had collaborated on a series a couple of years ago, and these new ceramic pieces — a sconce, table lamp, floor lamp, and pendant — are made in dark hues inspired by natural materials like anthracite, terra-cotta, and lapis lazuli. Diana Budds, Curbed, 17 May 2022 Heard's lawyers referenced Depp's history of trashing hotel rooms and his smashing of a bathroom sconce during an argument with Heard. CBS News, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French sconce, *esconse screened candle or lantern, from escunser to hide, obscure, from Old French escons, past participle of escondre to hide, from Vulgar Latin *excondere, alteration of Latin abscondere — more at abscond

Noun (2)

Dutch schans, from German Schanze

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1571, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sconce was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near sconce

Cite this Entry

“Sconce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a lamp or candlestick or group of candlesticks fastened to a wall

More from Merriam-Webster on sconce

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