Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various herbs or shrubs chiefly of the genus Potentilla of the rose family, native to northern temperate regions and having yellow or sometimes white or red flowers and compound leaves that in some species bear five leaflets.
  • noun Architecture A design having five sides composed of converging arcs, usually used as a frame for glass or a panel.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An ornament in the Pointed style of architecture, consisting of five cuspidated divisions. This form is frequently introduced in circular windows, bosses, rosettes, etc. See foil.
  • noun The common name of several species of plants of the genus Potentilla, from their quinate leaves. Also called five-finger. See Potentilla.
  • noun In heraldry, a five-leafed clover, used as a bearing.
  • noun Also spelled cinqfoil.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) The name of several different species of the genus Potentilla; -- also called five-finger, because of the resemblance of its leaves to the fingers of the hand.
  • noun (Arch.) An ornamental foliation having five points or cups, used in windows, panels, etc.
  • noun the Potentilla palustris, a plant with purple flowers which grows in fresh-water marshes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun potentilla (flower)
  • noun heraldry A stylized flower or leaf with five lobes.
  • noun topology A particular knot of five crossings.

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

  • noun an ornamental carving consisting of five arcs arranged in a circle
  • noun any of a numerous plants grown for their five-petaled flowers; abundant in temperate regions; alleged to have medicinal properties

Etymologies

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

[Middle English cinkfoil : cink, five; see cinque + foil, leaf (translation of Old French quintefeuille, from Latin quīnquefolium, translation of Greek pentaphullon); see foil.]

Examples

  • Valley bottoms with stable, well-drained soils support deciduous shrubs, such as cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), the legume (Caragana jubata), and willows (Salix spp).

    Tibetan Plateau alpine shrub and meadows

  • Cornelius Agrippa wrote on the power of numbers, which he declares is asserted by nature herself; thus the herb called cinquefoil, or five-leafed grass, resists poison, and bans devils by virtue of the number five; one leaf of it taken in wine twice a day cures the quotidian, three the tertian, four the quartan fever. [

    Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing

  • Yellow celandine, tormentil, and cinquefoil gleam as the sun rests on them.

    Country diary: Millyford Bridge, New Forest

  • This part of Teesdale is famous for botanical rarities like the shrubby cinquefoil bushes, covered with egg-yolk-yellow blooms, that cling to rocky islands in the river, but the profusion of flowers maintained by skilled management of livestock in meadows and pastures has the greatest impact on most visitors.

    Country diary: Forest-in-Teesdale

  • She came to hate the bitter yarrow tea they made her drink, and the smell of the poultice made of tall cinquefoil and yarrow.

    Men Don't Leave Me

  • I recognized the scent of rosemary in the smoke, but I wasn't sure of the other two herbs; foxglove, perhaps, or cinquefoil?

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • Lamb's-quarters and cinquefoil were already blooming, and I could see the buds of sweet broom swelling; another week and they'd be in flower.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  •  The cinquefoil is red, the Mexican hat, yellow against the lush, rain-soaked meadow.

    Monsoon

  • I saw the simple yellow cinquefoil dressed in an intricate new pattern.

    Wildfire

  • I saw the simple yellow cinquefoil dressed in an intricate new pattern.

    Wildfire

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