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Escutcheon

[ə-skəCH-ən]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Old French, 15th century

1.

(also escutcheon plate) A flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle, or light switch.

2.

A shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms.

Examples of Escutcheon in a sentence

"Every outdoor lock was protected from the elements by a swiveling brass escutcheon."

"The antique tapestry featured a large escutcheon at the center."

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illustration Escutcheon

About Escutcheon

“Escutcheon” came into English from the Old French “escuchon,” which referred to the Latin “scūtum,” meaning “shield.”

Did you Know?

With the Latin root “scūtum,” meaning “shield,” “escutcheon” once described a shield-shaped coat of arms, but it’s more commonly used now in architecture. It refers to shield-shaped stone ornaments that have decorated buildings from the Gothic era into the modern. Today, most escutcheons are literal — not figurative — shields. Their job is to shield less attractive parts of functional items from view. For example, an escutcheon may be placed to cover the hole in the wall from which a bathroom pipe emerges, or around a doorknob or lightswitch to hide the hardware.

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