Definitions

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

  • adjective Charmingly odd, especially in an old-fashioned way.
  • adjective Archaic Unfamiliar or unusual in character; strange.
  • adjective Archaic Cleverly made or done.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To acquaint; inform; cause to know.
  • Elegantly.
  • Known; familiar.
  • Artful; clever; cunning; crafty; wily.
  • Artificial; ingenious; elaborate; curious; pretty; elegant; fine.
  • Fanciful; odd; whimsical: as, a quaint phrase; a quaint talker.
  • Odd and antique; old-fashioned; curious; odd in any way.
  • Affectedly nice; squeamish; prim.
  • = Syn.5. Old, Antique, etc. See ancient.

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

  • adjective obsolete Prudent; wise; hence, crafty; artful; wily.
  • adjective Archaic Characterized by ingenuity or art; finely fashioned; skillfully wrought; elegant; graceful; nice; neat.
  • adjective Curious and fanciful; affected; odd; whimsical; antique; archaic; singular; unusual

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

  • adjective attractively old-fashioned (but not necessarily authentic)
  • adjective very strange or unusual; odd or even incongruous in character or appearance
  • adjective strange in an interesting or pleasing way

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, clever, cunning, peculiar, from Old French queinte, cointe, from Latin cognitus, past participle of cognōscere, to learn; see cognition.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

  • She confesses to Hicks in a letter in 1943 that she had abandoned what you call my 'quaint virginity cult' some time ago & haven't regretted it for one second.

    The Good Apprentice

  • PILGRIM: Bill, Bush nominee Alberto Gonzales is in the spotlight because of a memo he wrote to his White House legal counsel talking about new definitions of torture and the Geneva Convention provisions which he called quaint and talking about special people for war on terror, special rules for war on terror.

    CNN Transcript Dec 23, 2004

  • Instead, he characterizes what, from the Palestinian point of view is the Israeli land grab, in quaint Israeli partisan terms, ie: family expansion.

    Must Palestine Be Judenrein?

  • Elizabeth McCutchen and a friend were walking to book club two weeks ago in quaint Farmville, Virginia, when they strolled by a home on First Avenue.

    ‘Horrorcore’ singer suspected in Virginia killings

  • The story starts off in quaint fashion, as Vlad's English teacher gets offed by a mysterious vampire hunting Vlad.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • Covert, they read, in quaint carved letters under the eave of the porch.

    CHAPTER XVIII

  • The story starts off in quaint fashion, as Vlad's English teacher gets offed by a mysterious vampire hunting Vlad.

    Book Review: "Eighth Grade Bites" by Heather Brewer

  • The crumbling downtown building represents everything old and quaint from a simpler, slower time.

    Inventive “Be Kind Rewind” skates right by » Scene-Stealers

  • Who that has known a man quick and shrewd to see dispassionately the inner history, the reason and the ends, of the combinations of society, and at the same time eloquent to tell of them, with a hold on the attention gained by a certain quaint force and sagacity resident in no other man, can find it difficult to understand why men still resort to Montesquieu?

    How Books Become Immortal

  • Who that has known a man quick and shrewd to see dispassionately the inner history, the reason and the ends, of the combinations of society, and at the same time eloquent to tell of them, with a hold on the attention gained by a certain quaint force and sagacity resident in no other man, can find it difficult to understand why men still resort to Montesquieu?

    How Books Become Immortal

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." -Alberto Gonzales, 2002

    December 12, 2006

  • Can be a noun too. as in Shakespeare's "Midsummer-Night's Dream" Act 2 Sc. 2, where Titania says to Oberon:"The nine-men's morris is filled up with mud; and the quaint mazes in the wanton green...". In some editions a glossary explains that a 'quaint-maze' (sic) is a unicursal running maze in the shape of figure of eight. But there is no doubt that Shakespeare was contrasing here phallic and muliebrile elements via the Chaucerian faux-archaic 'queynte'. i.e. quaint-mazes were medieval mazes shaped like a queynte, and are the long spiral-shaped ones depicted on ancient coins, having no nodes.

    October 1, 2008

  • In other words, it meant the c-word. Thankfully, Weirdnet ignores that.

    October 1, 2008

  • From Latin cognitum "known", then proceeding via senses such as "knowing, clever" to "cleverly made, ingenious" to "of interesting or curious make" to its present meaning with the sense of old-fashionedness. Not related at all to 'cunt', but used as a pun by mediaeval writers that way.

    March 8, 2009

  • Andrew Marvell's ingenious use of the word needs to be seen in its context fully to be appreciated: "Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound/My echoing song; then worms shall try/That long preserv'd virginity/And your quaint honour turn to dust/And into ashes all my lust/The grave's a fine and private place/But none I think do there embrace".

    April 17, 2012