Quaint Quaint, a. [OE. queint, queynte, coint, prudent, wise, cunning, pretty, odd, OF. cointe cultivated, amiable, agreeable, neat, fr. L. cognitus known, p. p. of cognoscere to know; con + noscere (for gnoscere) to know. See {Know}, and cf. {Acquaint}, {Cognition}.] 1. Prudent; wise; hence, crafty; artful; wily. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Clerks be full subtle and full quaint. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

2. Characterized by ingenuity or art; finely fashioned; skillfully wrought; elegant; graceful; nice; neat. [Archaic] `` The queynte ring.'' `` His queynte spear.'' --Chaucer. `` A shepherd young quaint.'' --Chapman. [1913 Webster]

Every look was coy and wondrous quaint. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

To show bow quaint an orator you are. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. Curious and fanciful; affected; odd; whimsical; antique; archaic; singular; unusual; as, quaint architecture; a quaint expression. [1913 Webster]

Some stroke of quaint yet simple pleasantry. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

An old, long-faced, long-bodied servant in quaint livery. --W. Irving. [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Quaint}, {Odd}, {Antique}.

Usage: Antique is applied to that which has come down from the ancients, or which is made to imitate some ancient work of art. Odd implies disharmony, incongruity, or unevenness. An odd thing or person is an exception to general rules of calculation and procedure, or expectation and common experience. In the current use of quaint, the two ideas of odd and antique are combined, and the word is commonly applied to that which is pleasing by reason of both these qualities. Thus, we speak of the quaint architecture of many old buildings in London; or a quaint expression, uniting at once the antique and the fanciful. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • quaint — [kweınt] adj [Date: 1100 1200; : Old French; Origin: cointe clever , from Latin cognitus known ] unusual and attractive, especially in an old fashioned way ▪ a quaint little village in Yorkshire …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • quaint — [ kweınt ] adjective interesting or attractive with a slightly strange and old fashioned quality ╾ quaint|ly adverb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • quaint — (adj.) early 13c., cunning, proud, ingenious, from O.Fr. cointe pretty, clever, knowing, from L. cognitus known, pp. of cognoscere get or come to know well (see COGNIZANCE (Cf. cognizance)). Sense of old fashioned but charming is first attested… …   Etymology dictionary

  • quaint — [adj1] strange, odd bizarre, curious, droll, eccentric, erratic, fanciful, fantastic, freakish, freaky*, funny, idiosyncratic, laughable, oddball, offbeat, off the beaten track*, original, outlandish, peculiar, queer, singular, special, unusual,… …   New thesaurus

  • quaint — index eccentric, nonconforming, novel, outdated, outmoded Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • quaint — *strange, odd, queer, outlandish, curious, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, singular, unique Analogous words: *fantastic, bizarre, grotesque: droll, funny, *laughable: archaic, antiquated, antique (see OLD) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • quaint — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ attractively unusual or old fashioned. DERIVATIVES quaintly adverb quaintness noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «wise», «ingenious»: from Old French cointe, from Latin cognoscere ascertain …   English terms dictionary

  • quaint — [kwānt] adj. [ME cointe < OFr < L cognitus, known: see COGNITION] 1. Obs. clever or skilled 2. Now Rare wrought with skill; ingenious 3. unusual or old fashioned in a pleasing way 4. singular; unusual; curious 5. fanciful; whimsical …   English World dictionary

  • quaint — ac·quaint·ance; ac·quaint·ance·ship; quaint·ish; quaint·ly; quaint·ness; ac·quaint; quaint; un·ac·quaint·ed·ness; …   English syllables

  • quaint — [[t]kweɪnt[/t]] adj. er, est 1) having an old fashioned charm; oddly picturesque: a quaint old house[/ex] 2) peculiar or unusual in an interesting or amusing way: a quaint sense of humor[/ex] 3) skillfully or cleverly made 4) Obs. wise; skilled • …   From formal English to slang

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