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July 11, 2020

Word of the Day: Ensconce

1 CQ

Word of the Day : September 29, 2017

ensconce \in-SKAHNSS\ verb


1 : to place or hide securely : conceal

2 : to establish or settle firmly, comfortably, or snugly


Though kept—and used—for years in a private home, the unusual 17th-century porcelain bowl is now safely ensconced behind glass in a local museum.

"Using their strong back legs, female loggerheads dig until a pit is created that is deep enough to safely ensconce their eggs." — The Press and Standard (Walterboro, South Carolina), 20 July 2016

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.)

Aired September 29, 2017

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