Definition of cornice in English:



  • 1An ornamental molding around the wall of a room just below the ceiling.

    • ‘The interconnecting reception rooms to the left both have original cornices and ceiling roses as well as matching marble fireplaces with fitted gas fires, brass hoods and tiled insets.’
    • ‘The original sash windows are in perfect working condition, the original wooden window panelling and doors remain and the main rooms have cornices and ceiling roses.’
    • ‘Each has a feature fireplace surround and there are ceiling cornices in the living room and hallway.’
    • ‘With an original oak floor, this area also features a carved oak ceiling rose, pediments, cornices and architraves.’
    • ‘There are double-glazed, maintenance-free windows in each house and decorative ceiling cornices in the living room and hall.’
    1. 1.1A horizontal molded projection crowning a building or structure, especially the uppermost member of the entablature of an order, surmounting the frieze.
      • ‘Sometimes the sky is greeted with a white cornice over an otherwise brown building.’
      • ‘To one side lie the stately old buildings with columns and cornices that reference the school's 1845 heritage.’
      • ‘The windows are surmounted by rusticated wooden jack arches with superimposed keystones, and a heavy modillion cornice crowns the bold Georgian proportions of the facade.’
      • ‘Now a historic district, downtown boasts blocks of two- and three-story commercial buildings with elaborate cornices.’
      • ‘The flat fourth story is crowned by an emphatic cornice, above which is a tall mansard roof sheltering two more stories.’
  • 2An overhanging mass of hardened snow at the edge of a mountain precipice.

    • ‘Moments later I was kicking my way up and over the slightly overhanging cornice on to the plateau above.’
    • ‘In winter, it looks positively Alpine when the snow forms sweeping cornices.’
    • ‘In the wild there is no piste patrol to pick up the pieces, and the mountains bristle with rocks, cliffs and cornices.’
    • ‘Hawk was standing on top of a snow cornice near the top of the peak when the cornice broke loose from the mountain, sending Hawk churning down the slope.’
    • ‘Climbing alpine style - fast and light, with no set camps - they took on bitter winds and heavy-laden cornices of snow but summited in three and a half days.’


Mid 16th century: from French corniche, from Italian cornice, perhaps from Latin cornix crow (compare with corbel), but influenced by Greek korōnis copestone.