Origin of English word ENSCONCE

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word









cause to dwell, fixed


To be ENSCONCED is to be placed somewhere safely, snugly and securely. No one could be better ensconced than Benjamin. "He rests securely beside Him …rests between His shoulders." - Deuteronomy33:12. The Hebrew here is שכן   S(H)eeKHaiN (caused to dwell, fixed) or  שכן S(H)aKHahN (to settle down, abide, dwell -- Genesis 9:27.).

Just as ENSCONCE can mean to shelter and its Dutch source (schans) can mean a fortress.

  שכון S(H)eeKOON means housing, and   שכונה S(H)iKHOONaH a settlement.

Under the same roof there's SCENE, from Greek skene (a covered place or tent). The Hebrew etymon appears in Judges8:11 to describe "tent dwellers."   See "SCENE."

Dutch schans originally meant wickerwork, before SCONCE meant to shelter or screen and a hut or shed.  סכך $aKHaKH is to entangle (as wickerwork), to screen, and to cover - Exodus28:28.                    סוכה  $OOKaH is a booth, shed or tabernacle (Leviticus23:42  – see  SHACK) and סכך    $iKHaKH is  the covering of tangled branches (a poor man’s thatching) upon this SCO(N)CE or hut.

Added to the SK root of sheltering is a KN word like קן QaN (nest, dwelling  – see HEN). The two elements combine to make SKN sound cozy and safe.

A fricative-guttural-nasal synonym of   שכן SHaKHaN is  שען   SHaGHahN ( to stay, rest, lie -- Numbers 21:1).

שכון S(H)eeKOON  or “dwelling place” makes a fine place name. SCANDIAN (SCANDINAVIAN) and SCANDINAVIA meant northern Europe, the dwelling place of the Norse, before it came to mean Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  Similarly,  the related term אשכנז ASHKeNaZ of Genesis 10:3 need not signify Europe, but it came to mean the wide region of Jews in the Germanic lands east of Iberia. The S-K of שך  SoaKH  (“enclosure, dwelling”—Harkavy -- Lamentations 2:6) + the K-N of  קן QaiN (nest or cell, Genesis 6:14 – see KENNEL) may add up to שכן SHaKHaN.


Like the MiSHKahN (the Tabernacle or divine dwelling place in the wilderness), “abode” in Farsi is maskan. But the Iranians borrowed heavily from Arabic.

Joining the SCENE are SCENARIO and SCENERY, with other possibilities including (AB)SCOND (the equivalent of "to house"-a current slang term of stealing and hiding), ISCHIUM (from Greek ischion the bone where the body rests when sitting), and SKIN (the protective covering we're ensconced in - a word credited to sek, an Indo-European “root” that means to cut.)  Polish mieszka    ( dwell, live, reside)  is an  M312 metathesis of  שכן   SHaKHaiN. Jaskinia is a den or livable cave in Polish, showing how dwelling words can come from different takes on the same Edenic etymon. This second one is only a mild fricative shift away. Using an M132 metathesis,  song is to live in Vietnamese.

Guttural-nasal dwelling is at HAUNT.

Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 33:12 לבנימן אמר ידיד יהוה ישׁכן לבטח עליו חפף עליו כל־היום ובין כתפיו שׁכן׃

“Of Benjamin he said: ‘The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him; He covereth him all the day, and He dwelleth between his shoulders.’”



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