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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce cornice (audio)

Dictionary definition of cornice

The decorative molding that crowns the uppermost part of a building's exterior wall.
"The historic mansion was adorned with an elaborate cornice that added to its grandeur."

Detailed meaning of cornice

A cornice can be made of various materials such as stone, wood, or plaster, and it can feature intricate designs, patterns, and shapes that add aesthetic appeal to the building's architecture. The primary purpose of a cornice is to protect the building from rain and other elements by directing water away from the walls and foundation. The overhang created by the cornice can also provide shade and ventilation for the building's interior. Cornices are a common feature in classical and neoclassical architecture and can be found on buildings such as government buildings, museums, and other grand structures. They are often used to emphasize the building's height and grandeur, and they serve as a decorative element that enhances the overall beauty of the structure.

Example sentences containing cornice

1. The ornate cornice adorned the top of the historic building, showcasing intricate details.
2. The modern architecture of the skyscraper included a sleek glass cornice.
3. The painter added a touch of color to the room by highlighting the cornice.
4. The grand ballroom's cornice was beautifully illuminated, drawing attention to its design.
5. The renovation project focused on restoring the damaged cornice to its original splendor.
6. The antique mirror hung just below the cornice, reflecting the room's elegance.

History and etymology of cornice

The noun 'cornice' has its roots in the Italian word 'cornice,' which means 'ledge' or 'frame.' This term entered English in the 16th century, directly borrowing from the Italian. In architecture, a cornice refers to the decorative molding that crowns the uppermost part of a building's exterior wall. Its etymology aptly conveys the idea of a ledge or frame that adorns and completes the topmost section of a structure. Cornices serve both aesthetic and functional purposes, providing a finishing touch to buildings while also helping to divert rainwater away from the walls. Over centuries, cornices have become a defining feature of architectural design, adding character and visual appeal to buildings across various styles and eras.

Quiz: Find the meaning of cornice

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Further usage examples of cornice

1. The exterior of the mansion featured a stately stone cornice that added to its grandeur.
2. The interior designer chose a neutral color for the cornice to complement the room's décor.
3. The cornice served as a decorative border between the walls and the ceiling.
4. The museum displayed a collection of historical cornices from different architectural eras.
5. The cornice molding provided a finishing touch to the room's sophisticated ambiance.
6. The art gallery's minimalist design was enhanced by the clean lines of the cornice.
7. The cornice on the theatre's façade was beautifully lit up at night, attracting attention.
8. The building's entrance featured a stunning cornice with intricate floral patterns.
9. The craftsman carefully crafted the wooden cornice using traditional techniques.
10. The building's façade was characterized by its imposing stone cornice.
11. The cornice acted as a visual transition between the ceiling and the walls.
12. The historical preservation committee worked to protect the city's heritage cornices.
13. The luxurious penthouse boasted a gold-painted cornice that exuded opulence.
14. The architect incorporated a curved cornice to soften the sharp angles of the building's exterior.



molding, base, floor, foundation


SAT 20 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Building Components and Structures, Architectural Features and Spaces

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