Definition of stencil in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstɛns(ə)l/


Image of stencil
1A thin sheet of card, plastic, or metal with a pattern or letters cut out of it, used to produce the cut design on the surface below by the application of ink or paint through the holes: [as modifier]: stencil designs such as fruit
More example sentences
  • It just takes a little glass paint and a stencil or template.
  • Many paint and craft stores sell pre-cut, reusable plastic stencils in a variety of patterns, such as leaves, ivy, flowers, etc.
  • In subsequent works, he created permutating, off-centered grids with spray paint applied through stencils.
1.1A design produced by a stencil: a floral stencil around the top of the room
More example sentences
  • Smack dab in the middle of the canvas, an enormous silhouetted hen sits contentedly on her nest, framed by a field of radiant orange-on-orange floral stencils over a hot-pink background.
  • The plates were placed on a roof with stencils covering the positive areas of the portrait.
  • Or use border tiles to define a panel or tiled splashback, and then echo the motif as a stencil along the bottom edge of your table linen or roller blinds.

verb (stencils, stencilling, stencilled; US stencils, stenciling, stenciled)

[with object]
1Decorate (a surface) with a stencil: the walls had been stencilled with designs (as noun stencilling) the art of stencilling
More example sentences
  • Bluff Point, Spalding and Sunset Beach residents will have noticed roadside drains in their suburbs have been stencilled with the slogan ‘Water To The River’.
  • Set in the ceiling were small plaster panels with renditions of bookplates; the walls were stenciled with representations of bookbindings; and quotations about books embellished the broad wooden cornice.
  • Each panel is stenciled with a large date and a small text that provides an artist's name and the title of a work.
1.1Produce (a design) with a stencil: stencil a border around the door (as adjective stencilled) the stencilled letters
More example sentences
  • They had printed in white stenciled letters their message on the inside of the leaf… which is silly because leaves fall with the outside upwards, so all the messages were obscured but one.
  • He had spent the day stenciling tiny Christmas trees along the border of the sign.
  • Shapes are stencilled onto coloured papers to make cut-outs, and onto photos, for cropping them into interesting shapes.


Early 18th century: from earlier stansel 'ornament with various colours' (based on Latin scintilla 'spark').

Words that rhyme with stencil

intercensal, pencil

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sten|cil

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