ensconce vs settle what difference

what is difference between ensconce and settle



From en- +‎ sconce, “to place in a sconce (fortification)”.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɛnˈskɒns/
  • (US) enPR: ĭn-skäns’, IPA(key): /ɛnˈskɑns/
  • Rhymes: -ɒns, -ɑns


ensconce (third-person singular simple present ensconces, present participle ensconcing, simple past and past participle ensconced)

  1. (transitive) To place in a secure environment.
  2. (intransitive) To settle comfortably.
    • [] Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam.

Usage notes

Particularly used in form ensconced, as in “she was ensconced in an armchair.”


  • (settle comfortably): cuddle up


Further reading

  • ensconce in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • ensconce in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “ensconce”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.



  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsɛtl̩/
  • (General American) enPR: sĕtʹəl, IPA(key): /ˈsɛtəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɛtəl
  • Hyphenation: set‧tle

Etymology 1

From a merger of two verbs:

  • Middle English setlen, from Old English setlan (to settle, seat, put to rest), from Old English setl (seat) (compare Dutch zetelen (to be established, settle)) and
  • Middle English sahtlen, seihtlen (to reconcile, calm, subside), from Old English sahtlian, ġesehtlian (to reconcile), from Old English saht, seht (settlement, agreement, reconciliation, peace) (see saught, -le).

German siedeln (to settle) is related to the former of the two verbs, but is not an immediate cognate of either of them.


settle (third-person singular simple present settles, present participle settling, simple past and past participle settled)

  1. To conclude or resolve (something):
    1. (transitive) To determine (something which was exposed to doubt or question); to resolve conclusively; to set or fix (a time, an order of succession, etc).
    2. (transitive) To conclude, to cause (a dispute) to finish.
      1. (transitive) In particular, to terminate (a lawsuit), usually out of court, by agreement of all parties.
    3. (transitive) To close, liquidate or balance (an account) by payment, sometimes of less than is owed or due.
      • 2012, Paul Kelly, Willie Blair: A Tale of True Loss and Sadness →ISBN:
        The coffee was only surface wet and looked worse than it actually was and as he returned to the Reception Desk to settle his account and give back his room key, he was met again by the young man who was still wearing his rucksack.
    4. (transitive, colloquial) To pay (a bill).
    5. (intransitive) To adjust differences or accounts; to come to an agreement on matters in dispute.
    6. (intransitive) To conclude a lawsuit by agreement of the parties rather than a decision of a court.
  2. (transitive) To place or arrange in(to) a desired (especially: calm) state, or make final disposition of (something).
    1. (transitive) To put into (proper) place; to make sit or lie properly.
      • 2012, Nancy Gideon, Seeker of Shadows →ISBN:
        She twisted out from under the claim of his palm to settle her feet on the floor.
      • 2002, Tom Deitz, Warautumn →ISBN, page 53:
        Pausing only to settle his cloak and set his Regent’s circlet on his hair, he strode to the rail and waited.
    2. (transitive) To cause to no longer be in a disturbed, confused or stormy; to quiet; to calm (nerves, waters, a boisterous or rebellious child, etc).
    3. (Britain, dialectal) To silence, especially by force.
    4. to kill.
      • 1894-5, Patterson, Man and Nature (in The Primitive Methodist Magazine):
        I poured a charge of powder over the nipple so as not tu miss goin’ off if possible. Click! went the match,—up jumped the flock, or tried tu. As they bunched up, Peggy blazed intu ’em, settlin’ how many I didn’t know, […]
    5. (transitive) To bring or restore (ground, roads, etc) to a smooth, dry, or passable condition.
  3. (intransitive) To become calm, quiet, or orderly; to stop being agitated.
    1. (intransitive) To become firm, dry, and hard, like the ground after the effects of rain or frost have disappeared.
  4. To establish or become established in a steady position:
    1. (transitive) To place in(to) a fixed or permanent condition or position or on(to) a permanent basis; to make firm, steady, or stable; to establish or fix.
    2. (transitive) In particular, to establish in life; to fix in business, in a home, etc.
      1. (transitive, US, obsolete) In particular, to establish in pastoral office; to ordain or install as pastor or rector of a church, society, or parish.
    3. (transitive, law) To formally, legally secure (an annuity, property, title, etc) on (a person).
    4. (intransitive) To become married, or a householder.
    5. (intransitive, with “in”) To be established in a profession or in employment.
    6. (intransitive, usually with “down”, “in”, “on” or another preposition) To become stationary or fixed; to come to rest.
      • 1735, John Arbuthnot, An essay concerning the nature of aliments
        Chyle […] runs through all the intermediate colors until it settles in an intense red.
  5. (intransitive) To fix one’s residence in a place; to establish a dwelling place, home, or colony. (Compare settle down.)
    1. (transitive, in particular) To colonize (an area); to migrate to (a land, territory, site, etc).
  6. (transitive) To move (people) to (a land or territory), so as to colonize it; to cause (people) to take residence in (a place).
  7. To sink, or cause (something, or impurities within it) to sink down, especially so as to become clear or compact.
    1. (transitive) To clear or purify (a liquid) of dregs and impurities by causing them to sink.
    2. (transitive) To cause to sink down or to be deposited (dregs, sediment, etc).
    3. (transitive) To render compact or solid; to cause to become packed down.
    4. (intransitive) To sink to the bottom of a body of liquid, as dregs of a liquid, or the sediment of a reservoir.
    5. (intransitive) To sink gradually to a lower level; to subside, for example the foundation of a house, etc.
    6. (intransitive) To become compact due to sinking.
    7. (intransitive) To become clear due to the sinking of sediment. (Used especially of liquid. also used figuratively.)
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To make a jointure for a spouse.
    • 1712, Samuel Garth, Epilogue to Cato, a Tragedy, by Joseph Addison:
      He sighs with most success that settles well.
  9. (transitive, intransitive) Of an animal: to make or become pregnant.
Alternative forms
  • sattle (in several British dialects)
  • adjust
  • arrange
  • compose
  • decide
  • determine
  • establish
  • fix
  • regulate
  • (to place in a fixed or permanent condition): remove
  • disturb
  • agitate
  • wander
Derived terms
Related terms
  • settlement
  • settler

Etymology 2

From Middle English settle, setle, setel, setil, seotel, from Old English setl (that upon which one sits, a seat, a settle, a place to sit), from Proto-Germanic *setlaz (a seat; arm-chair), representing Proto-Indo-European *sed-lo-, from *sed- (sit). Cognate with Dutch zetel, German Sessel, Latin sella.


settle (plural settles)

  1. (archaic) A seat of any kind.
    • c. 1348, Richard Rolle, The Form of Living
      sit on a settle of joy with angels
    • 1608, Joshua Sylvester, “The Law”, in Du Bartas his divine weekes and workes
      If hunger drive the Pagans from their dens,
      One, ‘gainst a settle breaketh both his shins;
    • 1878–1880, John Richard Green, A History of the English People:
      [The] Queen or eorl’s wife, with a train of maidens, bore ale-bowl or mead-bowl round the hall, from the high settle of king or ealdorman in the midst to the mead benches ranged around its walls, while the gleeman sang the hero-songs
  2. (now rare) A long bench with a high back and arms, often with chest or storage space underneath.
    • 1880, Ellen Murray Beam, English translation of Captain Fracasse by Théophile Gautier (→ISBN):
      Let us return now to the little girl we left feigning to sleep soundly upon a settle in the kitchen.
    • 1886, John Williamson Palmer, After His Kind:
      By the fireside, the big arm-chair […] fondly cronied with two venerable settles within the chimney corner.
  3. (obsolete) A place made lower than the rest; a wide step or platform lower than some other part. (Compare a depression.)

Further reading

  • settle in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • settle in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • settle at OneLook Dictionary Search


  • ettles, tetels

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