Last modified on 16 August 2014, at 08:47

quaint

EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Anglo-Norman cointe, queinte et al., Old French cointe (pretty, clever, knowing), from Latin cognitus, past participle of cognoscere (to know).

AdjectiveEdit

quaint (comparative quainter, superlative quaintest)

  1. (obsolete) Of a person: cunning, crafty. [13th-19th c.]
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI part 2:
      But you, my Lord, were glad to be imploy'd, / To shew how queint an Orator you are.
  2. (obsolete) Cleverly made; artfully contrived. [14th-19th c.]
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IX:
      describe races and games, / Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields, / Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds, / Bases and tinsel trappings [...].
  3. (now dialectal) Strange or odd; unusual. [from 14th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.4:
      Till that there entered on the other side / A straunger knight, from whence no man could reed, / In quyent disguise, full hard to be descride […].
    • 1808, Walter Scott, Marmion XX:
      Lord Gifford, deep beneath the ground, / Heard Alexander's bugle sound, / And tarried not his garb to change, / But, in his wizard habit strange, / Came forth,—a quaint and fearful sight!
    • 1924, Time, 17 Nov 1924:
      What none would dispute though many smiled over was the good-humored, necessary, yet quaint omission of the writer's name from the whole consideration.
  4. (obsolete) Overly discriminating or needlessly meticulous; fastidious; prim. [15th-19th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.7:
      She, nothing quaint / Nor 'sdeignfull of so homely fashion, / Sith brought she was now to so hard constraint, / Sate downe upon the dusty ground anon [...].
  5. Pleasingly unusual; especially, having old-fashioned charm. [from 18th c.]
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma:
      I admire all that quaint, old-fashioned politeness; it is much more to my taste than modern ease; modern ease often disgusts me.
    • 2011, Ian Sample, The Guardian, 31 Jan 2011:
      The rock is a haven for rare wildlife, a landscape where pretty hedgerows and quaint villages are bordered by a breathtaking, craggy coastline.

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

A variant of cunt (possibly as a pun).

NounEdit

quaint (plural quaints)

  1. (archaic) The vulva. [from 14th c.]
    • c. 1390, Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Wife of Bath's Tale", Canterbury Tales:
      And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me, / I hadde þe beste queynte þat myghte be.
    • 2003, Peter Ackroyd, The Clerkenwell Tales, p. 9:
      The rest looked on, horrified, as Clarice trussed up her habit and in open view placed her hand within her queynte crying, ‘The first house of Sunday belongs to the sun, and the second to Venus.’