Definition of wainscot in English:



  • 1in singular An area of wooden panelling on the lower part of the walls of a room.

    • ‘Old fir flooring, recovered from a demolished building, finds new life as wainscot in the Ecotrust Building, Portland, Oregon.’
    • ‘The dry rot has now entered the wainscot surrounding the lower part of the ground floor walls.’
    • ‘A pine staircase leads up to the bedrooms, the largest of which has a red deal floor as well as a timber wainscot.’
    • ‘Using historic photographs and sampling of paint layers, TLCD restored or reconstructed the original finishes, colors, and wainscot.’
    • ‘The floor was laid in blue slate, the walls done in oak wainscot beneath swirled plaster painted a desert sand color.’
    1. 1.1British historical mass noun Imported oak of fine quality, used mainly to make panelling.
  • 2A drab yellowish to brown-coloured European moth.

    Mythimna and other genera, family Noctuidae: several species

    • ‘There are several Wainscot moths which can be quite tricky to identify in isolation.’
    • ‘Several rare or scarce species have been identified, one of which, the Brown-veined Wainscot was a new species for the county.’


[with object]
  • Line (a room or wall) with wooden panelling.

    ‘the interior was to be wainscotted to a height of 4 feet’
    ‘round the wainscotted walls ran narrow benches’
    • ‘His ‘untimely death’ occurred while he was away from his wainscoted offices on a periodic visit to a resort near the Matterhorn.’
    • ‘Italian marble wainscoted the walls to a height of five feet.’
    • ‘Add elegant age to modern bathrooms by wainscoting the lower third of the wall areas in tongue-and-groove timber slats or boards.’
    • ‘She eyed at the grandfather clock, which would have been a wonderful corner piece had it been in a wainscoted library, but was grossly out of place in a bare living room decorated by light wood accents.’
    • ‘For example, the broad wainscoted side hall terminates in a staircase that rises to a landing and then turns ninety degrees in a manner similar to that at Mulberry Hill.’


Middle English: from Middle Low German wagenschot, apparently from wagen ‘wagon’ + schot, probably meaning ‘partition’. wainscot (sense 2 of the noun) dates from the early 19th century.