from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A post or an object mounted on a post, used as a target in tilting exercises.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An object to be tilted at; -- called also quintel.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A figure or other object to be tilted at.
- n. The game or exercise of tilting at the quintain.
- n. Same as cinquain, 2.
Middle English quintaine, from Old French, probably from Latin quīntāna (via), fifth (street in a Roman camp, supposedly used for military exercises), from quīntus, fifth; see penkwe in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman quintine, quinteine, Middle French quintaine, probably from Latin quīntāna ("street separating fifth and sixth maniples in a Roman camp"), feminine form of quīntānus ("pertaining to the fifth"). (Wiktionary)