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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Its floors and wainscot were dark redwood, its walls a soft gray.
▪ They could hear the wood splintering under his teeth - a sound like a mouse in a shed wainscot at midnight.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Wainscot \Wain"scot\, n. [OD. waeghe-schot, D. wagen-schot, a clapboard, fr. OD. waeg, weeg, a wall (akin to AS. wah; cf. Icel. veggr) + schot a covering of boards (akin to E. shot, shoot).]

  1. Oaken timber or boarding. [Obs.]

    A wedge wainscot is fittest and most proper for cleaving of an oaken tree.

    Inclosed in a chest of wainscot.
    --J. Dart.

  2. (Arch.) A wooden lining or boarding of the walls of apartments, usually made in panels.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of European moths of the family Leucanid[ae].

    Note: They are reddish or yellowish, streaked or lined with black and white. Their larv[ae] feed on grasses and sedges.


Wainscot \Wain"scot\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wainscoted; p. pr. & vb. n. Wainscoting.] To line with boards or panelwork, or as if with panelwork; as, to wainscot a hall.

Music soundeth better in chambers wainscoted than hanged.

The other is wainscoted with looking-glass.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., "imported oak of superior quality" (well-grained and without knots), probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Flemish waghenscote "superior quality oak wood, board used for paneling" (though neither of these is attested as early as the English word), related to Middle Low German wagenschot (late 14c.), from waghen (see wagon) + scote "partition, crossbar." So called perhaps because the wood originally was used for wagon building and coachwork, but the sense evolution is not entirely clear. Meaning "panels lining the walls of rooms" is recorded from 1540s. Wainscoting is from 1570s.


n. An area of wooden (especially oaken) panelling on the lower part of a room’s walls. vb. To decorate a wall with a wainscot.

  1. n. panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest [syn: dado]

  2. wooden panel used to line the walls of a room [syn: wainscoting, wainscotting]

Wainscot (fiction)

In fantasy fiction, a wainscot is a society concealed ("hidden in the wainscotting") and secretly working in the real world. The term was first coined by The Encyclopedia of Fantasy in 1997.

Such concealed societies typically have a special insight into the mechanics of the world, such as an understanding of magical forces or knowledge of supernatural beings. Wainscot societies may seek to hide this information from outsiders, or they may be disbelieved due to ignorance, conspiracies, or consensus reality.

A significant feature of wainscot fiction is that it does not take place in fantasy realms only accessible via some kind of magical portal (e.g. Narnia). Wainscot stories involve hidden parts of the familiar, mundane world. In horror-tinged works of fantasy, such as H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, the Buffyverse, or White Wolf Games' World of Darkness setting, the majority's ignorance of the true horrors of their world may seem like a blessing.

In C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength it is disclosed that from the death of King Arthur up to the time of writing in the 1940s, there had been an unbroken line of Pendragons living secretly in Britain, the Pendragon in each generation gathering around himself a small band of loyal followers and in times of crisis acting secretly to save the country from various perils—with Britons unaware of how much they owed to this secret group.

Wainscot (disambiguation)

Wainscot is a wooden panelling applied to an interior wall.

Wainscot may also refer to:

  • Wainscot (fiction), a subgenre of fantasy fiction literature
  • Common Wainscot, a moth that is very pale
  • Shoulder-striped Wainscot, a moth that has a thick black basal streak
  • Smoky Wainscot, a moth that has a dark basal streak with another. shorter streak nearer to the costa and tornus

Usage examples of "wainscot".

The solid dark weight of the familiar furniture, the chest and aumbry, the chair and the prie-dieu stood out against the wainscot paneling behind them.

Here there was more change than the outside indicated, and Ward saw with regret that fully half of the fine scroll-and-urn overmantels and shell-carved cupboard linings were gone, whilst most of the fine wainscotting and bolection moulding was marked, hacked, and gouged, or covered up altogether with cheap wall-paper.

There was a flat with the reddest of new carpets, tasselled portieres and six steins with pewter lids arranged on a ledge above the wainscoting of the dining-room.

Turner watercolour behind the wainscoting so we can ballock the boss and eagle off to Monte Carlo.

Emmeline entered her home by a hall pannelled with dark wainscot, and surrounded by carved doors, surmounted with heavy entablatures.

None of the internal walls had been lathed and plaistered let alone pannelled or wainscoted so that the naked brick was everywhere visible, except where it was obscured by hangings in the drawing-room.

Another Alsatia existed depths beneath the soot-rimed surface of timber, stone and thatch, behind a hundred wainscots and boarded entranceways.

The dark maroon carpet complemented the walnut wainscot and the stark white walls.

She propped it carefully on the wainscoting beside the hawkmoth, and left.

The oak wainscoting glowed golden with long and loving application of beeswax and turpentine even in this pallid early spring sunlight, while higher upon those same walls fanciful plasterwork ornamentation spread its delicate lacelike tracery against the darker cream of the lime-washed background.

Lavender paused for breath, and in the darkness a faint noise, as of a mouse scrattling at a wainscot, attracted his attention.

The two lower rooms consisted of a dining-room, with a table, chairs, and side-board of walnut,and a wainscoted parlor, without ornaments, carpet, or timepiece.

Having crossed the foot of the stair-case, and passed through an ante-room, they entered a spacious apartment, whose walls, wainscoted with black larch-wood, the growth of the neighbouring mountains, were scarcely distinguishable from darkness itself.

It opened into a suite of spacious and ancient apartments, some of which were hung with tapestry, and others wainscoted with cedar and black larch-wood.

It was a spacious room, whose walls, wainscoted with rough oak, shewed no casement but the grated one, which Emily had left, and no other door than that, by which she had entered.