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(kôr`nĭs), molded or decorated projection that forms the crowning feature at the top of a building wall or other architectural element; specifically, the uppermost of the three principal members of the classic entablatureentablature
, the entire unit of horizontal members above the columns or pilasters in classical architecture—Greek, Roman or Renaissance. The height of the entablature in relation to the column supporting it varies with the three orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, but
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, hence by extension any similar crowning and projecting element in the decorative arts. The term is also employed for any projection on a wall that is provided to throw rainwater off the face of the building. The cornice undoubtedly had its origin in the primitive eave projection: the Greek Doric and lonic cornices recall early wooden roof forms, and the Egyptian cavetto-and-fillet cornice is a derivation of the overhanging papyrus stalks that formed the eaves of primitive shelters. The cornice early lost its structural significance and became a stylized decorative element; in the Greek and Roman eras it assumed firmly standardized forms in the classical orders that were retained, with variations, through the Renaissance and later periods. As an element in the classical entablature the cornice is composed of the cymatium, or crown molding, above the corona, the projecting flat member, which casts the principal shadow; in this shadow, and supporting the corona, are a group of moldings called the bed molds, which may be elaborated with dentils. The Corinthian and Composite cornices are further embellished with modillions, or brackets, under the corona; the soffit of the Doric corona is decorated with square, flat projections called mutules, having guttae, or small knobs, hanging from their lower surfaces.


The uppermost division of an entablature; a projecting shelf along the top of a wall supported by a series of brackets; the exterior trim at the meeting of a roof and wall, consisting of soffit, fascia and crown molding.

boxed cornice

A hollow cornice, built up of boards and moldings, resulting in a soffit under the eaves.

bracketed cornice

A deep cornice having large, widely spaced ornamental brackets supporting an overhanging eave; it is common in the Italianate style.

horizontal cornice

The level cornice of the pediment under the two inclined cornices.

modillion cornice

A cornice supported by a series of modillions, often found in Composite and Corinthian orders.

open cornice

Overhanging eaves where the rafters are exposed at the eaves and can be seen from below.

raking cornice

A cornice following the slope of a gable, pediment, or roof.


The crowning, overhanging part of an architectural structure.


1. Any molded projection which crowns or finishes the part to which it is affixed.
2. The third or uppermost division of an entablature, resting on the frieze.
3. An ornamental molding, usually of wood or plaster, running round the walls of a room just below the ceiling; a crown molding; the molding forming the top member of a door or window frame.
4. The exterior trim of a structure at the meeting of the roof and wall; usually consists of bed molding, soffit, fascia, and crown molding. For special types, see architrave cornice, boxed cornice, bracketed cornice, cavetto cornice, closed cornice, eaves cornice, modillion cornice, open cornice.


1. Architect
a. the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
b. a continuous horizontal projecting course or moulding at the top of a wall, building, etc.
2. an overhanging ledge of snow formed by the wind on the edge of a mountain ridge, cliff, or corrie
References in classic literature ?
The rooms upstairs had great high wooden chimney-pieces and large doors, with panelled walls and cornices to the ceiling; which, although they were black with neglect and dust, were ornamented in various ways.
Replacing the cornice seizure and return of shingles.
The easiest way to reproduce a cornice is to cut out a section from the ceiling.
0 million of structured mezzanine debt financing to Cornice, Inc.
But after the cornice had been the target for a species of initiation ceremony by generations of boys, many of the 300 frieze figures had become badly eroded.
The sitting room has a bay window to the front, feature original fireplace with slate surround and flagged hearth, wood-burning stove, exposed floorboards, television point, original cornice style ceiling with ceiling rose.
Cornice has been one of Colorado's standouts in landing venture capital since the days of dot-com mania.
The 10 percent of the time when the wind is ripping the snow off Cornice and the temps are below zero you will need more layers underneath.
In more detail, the house is entered via an elegant, tall portico with fluted corbels over stone steps, through a painted, panelled front door into the entrance vestibule, with tall ceiling, heavy oakpanelled door with side panelling and deep moulded ceiling cornice.
But take care when marking the overall length, as the cornice will be wider than the pelmets.
One almost expects the cup to start rattling on its saucer; above one's head, a massive chunk of Roman cornice looms alarmingly, and a photo of a collapsed building in Japan becomes a contemporary vanitas symbol.
The partnership developed when the Foundation learned that Standard Textiles, a tenant at one of Majestic Realty's industrial developments, had a surplus inventory of curtains and matching cornice boxes.