Acanthus: plant whose foliage is among the most widely used of all decorative motifs.
Arabesque: scroll of flowers and foilage arranged without concern for symmetry.
Armoire: tall cupboard or wardrobe.
Attributes: symbolic objects; often used in the eighteenth century; palm fronds are an attribute of victory, rifles and game are attributes of the hunt.
Baluster: short column swollen toward the middle and consisting of several parts: a base, a swelling, a neck, and a capital.
Bibliotheque: "library"; in furniture, bookcase.
Bureau-plat: flat-top writing table, introduced at the end of the XVII century.
Burl: abnormal excrescence on a tree that produces mottled or speckled patterns in the wood, much prized in veneers
Cartouche: escutheon-like round or oval field surrounded by an elaborate frame.
Caryatid: support shaped like a female figure.
Chiffonniere: small, high table on legs equipped with three drawers.
Column: cylinder-shaped support. Five types of ancient columns: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite.
Commode: chest of drawers, introduced towards end of XVII century.
Console: ornamental bracket with a compound curved outline; freestanding tables are consoles de milieu. A console d'applique is a console table designed to be placed against a wall.
Dentil: a rectangular cubic form, reminiscent of a tooth, aligned in rows with interveneing spaces to form "dental moldings," usually found below projecting cornices.
Ebeniste: furniture-maker specializing in luxury case furniture, usually incorporating marquetry of various kinds.
Enamel: vitreous substance, usally colored, fused to a metal surface under heat.
Fauteuil: armchair current until the mid-seventeenth century.
Floret: round, flower-like ornamental motif.
Frieze: decorative or narrative composition in a horizontal band.
Girandole: crystal pendant adorning a chandelier, wall light, candelabrum, etc.
Glaze: a vitreous coating fixed to ceramic by firing.
Gondola chair back: rounded chair back that curves forward to constitute the arms as well.
Interlace: decorative motif composed of intertwining bands.
Lacquer: a colored resin applied to objects, paneling, furniture, etc.
Medallion: a round or oval decorative element containing a motif
Molding: a long ornamental element, either projecting or recessed of continuous profile.
Palmette: decorative motif resembling a stylized palm frond.
Patterned ground: in furniture, a regular pattern, either carved or executed in marquetry.
Pediment: triangular, element surmounting the entablature.
Pied -de-biche: slender, slightly curved leg with a hoofed foot.
Pied en facade: leg aligned with the sides of the piece it supports.
Pied en oblique: turned-out leg.
Pilaster: engaged pillar or low, flat projection, often fluted.
Psyche mirror: large portrait-format mirrors set into a frame and supported by a stand with two side posts and a large base. It usually pivots along the central horizontal axis.
Rinceau: decorative motif composed of scrolling foliage.
Rosette: ornamental motif in the shape of a star or rose.
Sabot: metal "shoe" protective as well as ornamental, on the feet of a piece of furniture.
Semainier: high and narrow chest with six to eight drawers.
Servante: a kind of commode resembling a pantry table meant to be set against the wall.
Singeries: decorative motifs and/or compositions incorporating monkeys dressed as humans.
Tors: decorative motif consisting of twisted foliage, ribbon or string of pearls.
Tripod: three footed base
Trompe l'oeil: illusionistic perspective representation.
Trumeau mirror: mirror set into the woodwork between two windows or doors.
Volute: spiral scroll; in furniture, often found in console motifs and terminals of various kinds.
Source: French Furniture by Sylvie Chadenet