Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A facing or paneling, usually of wood, applied to the walls of a room.
  • n. The lower part of an interior wall when finished in a material different from that of the upper part.
  • transitive v. To line or panel (a room or wall) with wainscoting.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Oaken timber or boarding.
  • n. A wooden lining or boarding of the walls of apartments, usually made in panels.
  • n. Any one of numerous species of European moths of the family Leucanidæ.
  • transitive v. To line with boards or panelwork, or as if with panelwork.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fine kind of foreign oak-timber, not so liable to cast or warp as English oak, easily worked with tools, and used at first for any kind of paneled work, and afterward in other ways.
  • n. A wooden lining or boarding of the walls of apartments, usually made in panels; paneled boards on the walls of rooms. Originally this lining or paneling was made of wainscot-oak.
  • n. One of certain noctuid moths: an English collectors' name.
  • To line or panel with wainscot: as, to wainscot a hall.
  • To line or panel in the manner of wainscoting, with material other than oak, or, more generally, than wood.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest of the wall
  • n. wooden panels that can be used to line the walls of a room

Etymologies

Middle English, from Middle Dutch waghenscot : perhaps waghen, wagen, wagon (from the quality of wood used for carriagework); see wagon + scot, partition; see skeud- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Low German wagenschot, assumed to be from wagen ("wagon") + schot, believed to mean “partition”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Whether we may not, for the same use, manufacture divers things at home of more beauty and variety than wainscot, which is imported at such expense from Norway?

    Querist

  • The wainscot could be a wallpaper, like Lincrusta, or it could be wood.

    Brownstoner

  • This feeling is very strong in many apartment houses where small rooms are overburdened by this kind of wainscot, and to make matters worse, the top is used as a plate-rail.

    Furnishing the Home of Good Taste A Brief Sketch of the Period Styles in Interior Decoration with Suggestions as to Their Employment in the Homes of Today

  • If you would like a bit of domestic information, a picture of matrimony, I have to inform you that our Neighbour behind the wainscot has discovered that his wife has been noodling him, and running him in debt, and the consequence is, that she is out of his house, and he has advertized that he will pay no debts that she may contract.

    Letter 242

  • This is most stunningly displayed in the show's chief highlight, a re - creation of the dining room first exhibited in the 1903 Arts and Crafts Exhibition organized by Stickley in Syracuse, N.Y. The room incorporates the handsome, massive furniture in a setting where everything from the oak-and-burlap wainscot to the pottery vessels on the table and sideboard was designed or overseen by Stickley himself.

    Four-Square Reformer

  • I was anxious to see men so famous in the world of Books; But though Mr Rogers at whose table we met behaved with his usual kindness Dr A and Son would have known just as much of me had I been looking through a gimblet hole in the wainscot, and I should have made as good a figure in the company.

    Letter 115

  • "As we stand upright and are, in a sense, rooted in the ground so the wall through its wainscot division, is rooted relative to the floor," he wrote, in just one of several passages where he is clearly thinking like, and arguing from, the perspective of the fully physically able-bodied person he was in 1982.

    Philip Kennicott on Michael Graves's 'Revealing Culture' exhibit

  • The home has custom woodwork throughout, including reclaimed wood floors and wainscot paneling.

    Making an Armonk Estate

  • The girl disappeared down a hallway, running her hand along the wainscot for guidance.

    A Bad Day’s Work

  • But Buffy is herself a quirk, a Slayer, a supernatural champion born to destroy these creatures, the series beginning with her awakening to this liminal nature through the instruction of a Watcher, an agent of a liminal organisation, what Clute calls a wainscot.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Seams

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