Wiktionary gives a third sense for chandelier: (obsolete, military) A portable frame used to support temporary wooden fences.

I can find quite a lot of uses like this from 1800s and earlier, but I can't find any etymology besides the standard one which applies to lights/candles. Anyone know the connection? Thanks!

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    chandelier originates from candelabrum and the shape of the military chandelier does resemble a candelabrum so the etymology is related but which came first is much harder to answer – msam Mar 14 '14 at 8:27

The OED confirms that 'chandelier', in its usual sense, is of modern etymology, precisely from the French.

But the only alternative meaning it gives is the one below, which is not quite the same thing to which you refer. But if anyone has access to Stocqueler (Military Encyclopaedia) it may tell us. Perhaps the 'sappers' traverse doubled for use in supporting fences when the sapping was done.

Mil. ‘A wooden frame, which was filled with fascines, to form a traverse in sapping’ (Stocqueler Mil. Encycl.), and cover the sappers.

1664 B. Gerbier Counsel to Builders (new ed.) i. sig. c6, To blow up Ditches, Estacades, and Chandeliers.

1704 London Gaz. No. 4082/3, They brought a great number of Chandeliers to cover their Workmen.

1860 G. Bancroft Hist. U.S. VIII. lix. 294 Gabions and fascines and chandeliers for the redoubts.

  • chandeliers and fascines - In this image the chandeliers are the wooden structures, the fascines the bundles of straw (but could be any other material) – msam Mar 14 '14 at 8:18

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