Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Variant of quoin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A projecting corner or angle.
  • n. A wedge used in typesetting

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A var. spelling of coin, quoin, a corner, wedge; -- chiefly used in the phrase coign of vantage, a position advantageous for action or observation.
  • n. an expandable metal or wooden wedge used by printers to lock up a form within a chase.
  • n. the keystone of an arch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A corner; a coin or quoin; a projecting point. See quoin.
  • n. In geology, an original angular elevation of land around which as a corner-stone continental growth has taken place.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the keystone of an arch
  • n. expandable metal or wooden wedge used by printers to lock up a form within a chase

Etymologies

From Old French coigne ("wedge, cornerstone, die for stamping"), from Latin cuneus ("wedge"). See also quoin ("cornerstone") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Now the NTSB has already gained a powerful ally and possibly the coign of vantage an advantageous position against the wireless industry.

    John B. Townsend II: The Lake Wobegon Effect and the Cell Phone Ban

  • The audience, of course, generally has the same preferred coign of vantage as the lucky servant or the Wily Peasant.

    Cinnamon Roll

  • Cf. ‘no jutty, frieze, buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle.’

    Quentin Durward

  • Forbearing to engage in the open field, where the gain would lie wholly with the enemy, he lay stoutly embattled on ground where the citizens must reap advantage; since, as he doggedly persisted, to march out meant to be surrounded on every side; whereas to stand at bay where every defile gave a coign of vantage, would give him mastery complete. 46

    Agesilaus

  • Laconian territory, he came so close to the gates that their officers actually shut out their own Boeotian cavalry on the point of entering, in terror lest the Lacedaemonians might pour into the town in company, and these Boeotian troopers were forced to cling, like bats to a wall, under each coign of vantage beneath the battlements.

    Hellenica

  • The infant Isabella from her coign to do obeisance toward the duffgerent, as first futherer with drawn brand.

    Finnegans Wake

  • There were people, crowds of people, clearly visible at the office windows of the upper stories of the casino and cathedral looking out over the crowd: the casino itself might be closed, but either the rest of Billy Fairchild's empire was open for business, or he'd offered it up as a coign of vantage for those interested in seeing the concert but not mingling with the groundlings.

    Music to My Sorrow

  • We passed out of the city by a gate where in a little coign of vantage a cobbler was thoughtfully hammering away in the tumult at

    Familiar Spanish Travels

  • However, by the exertions of our marines — who should have been at them long ago — these sharp-shooters from the coign of vantage were now reduced to three brave fellows.

    Springhaven

  • In Scotland Yard, sitting dozing on your benches, or talking soft nothings to the housemaids round the corner; for ye were not walking on your beats, nor standing at coign of vantage, to watch the tumults of the day.

    Doctor Thorne

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Comments

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  • "MENENIUS: See you yond coign o' the Capitol,--yond corner-stone?"
    - William Shakespeare, 'The Tragedy of Coriolanus'.

    August 29, 2009

  • ...signs and portents and circumstances that hurtled--or which they perceived as hurtling--about their destinies, or lurked, observing them, from appropriate coigns of vantage.

    - Malcolm Lowry, October Ferry to Gabriola

    July 30, 2008

  • November 2, 2007

  • They take me for a dun, peer out from a coign of vantage.
    Joyce, Ulysses, 3

    December 30, 2006