1. A sheet, as of plastic or cardboard, in which a desired lettering or design has been cut so that ink or paint applied to the sheet will reproduce the pattern on the surface beneath.
2. The lettering or design produced with such a sheet.
3. The process of printing with such a sheet.
tr.v. sten·ciled, sten·cil·ing, sten·cils or sten·cilled or sten·cil·ling
1. To mark with a stencil.
2. To produce by stencil.
[From Middle English stencelled, adorned brightly, from Old French estenceler, to adorn brightly, from estencele, spark, from Vulgar Latin *stincilla, alteration of Latin scintilla, spark.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.