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

  • n. An exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry.
  • n. Any of the stones used in forming such an angle, often being of large size and dressed or arranged so as to form a decorative contrast with the adjoining walls.
  • n. A keystone.
  • n. Printing A wedge-shaped block used to lock type in a chase.
  • n. A wedge used to raise the level of a gun.
  • transitive v. To provide, secure, or raise with a quoin or quoins.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the corner building blocks of a building, usually larger or more ornate than the surrounding blocks.
  • n. The keystone of an arch.
  • n. A metal wedge which fits into the space between the type and the edge of a chase, and is tightened to fix the metal type in place.
  • n. A form of wedge used to prevent casks from moving

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a solid exterior angle, as of a building; now, commonly, one of the selected pieces of material by which the corner is marked.
  • n. A wedgelike piece of stone, wood, metal, or other material, used for various purposes
  • n. To support and steady a stone.
  • n. To support the breech of a cannon.
  • n. To wedge or lock up a form within a chase.
  • n. To prevent casks from rolling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To wedge, steady, or raise with quoins, as a stone in building a wall, the types in a chase, etc.: generally with up. See quoin, n., 2.
  • n. An external solid angle; specifically, in architecture and masonry, the external angle of a building.
  • n. A wedge-like piece of stone, wood, metal, or other material, used for various purposes.
  • n. In gem-cutting, any one of the four facets on the crown of a brilliant; also, any one of the four facets on the pavilion or base. These facets divide each portion of the brilliant into four parts. Also called lozenge. See cut under brilliant.
  • n. Nautical, a wedge placed beneath a cask when stowed on shipboard, to prevent it from rolling.
  • n. In gunnery, a wooden wedge used to hold a gun at a desired elevation.
  • n. The solid angle of a crystal in which three or more faces meet. Also written coign.

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

  • n. expandable metal or wooden wedge used by printers to lock up a form within a chase
  • n. the keystone of an arch
  • n. (architecture) solid exterior angle of a building; especially one formed by a cornerstone


Variant of coin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Variant of coin; compare coign. (Wiktionary)


  • The figure 8 represents what is called a quoin, and keeps the bolster in its place.

    My Days and Nights on the Battle-Field

  • A quoin is a solid which differs from a wedge in having its sharp end formed by the steep inclination of one side, instead of the mutual tapering of both sides.

    Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

  • The two inner sides of each pair of skill facets form the half of a diamond or lozenge-shaped facet, called a "quoin," of which there are four.

    The Chemistry, Properties and Tests of Precious Stones

  • Or are we leaving it up to the kids to learn on their own while we maintain the status-quoin our classrooms?

    Lee Kolbert: Should Kids Be Driving Alone? (VIDEO)

  • FX: picks up quoin and wanders off to buy a cup of coffee.

    Making Light: The "agency model" as I understand it

  • The letterpress landscape is littered with Qs: quad (short for quadrat), quoin, quarto, quire, question & quotation marks, even quadrata (Roman inscriptional capitals, of which I am particularly fond).

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • It is a double quoin, the taller to the south, the lower to the north, and both bluff in the latter direction.

    The Land of Midian

  • The loose sand is everywhere strewed with bits of light porous lava, which comes from the Harrat el-Buhayr, a bluff quoin to the north-west.

    The Land of Midian

  • We mounted the background of a quoin-shaped hill by a well-trodden path, leading to the remnants of a rude Burj (“watch-tower”), and to a semicircle of dry wall, garnished with a few sticks for hanging rags and tatters.

    The Land of Midian

  • The lower edge of the Hismá swells up in red and quoin-like masses, the Jibál el-Záwiyah, and then falls suddenly, with a succession of great breaks, into the sub-maritime levels.

    The Land of Midian


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  • Quoin is not a Euclidean term. It belongs to the pure nautical mathematics. I know not that it has been defined before. A quoin is a solid which differs from a wedge in having its sharp end formed by the steep inclination of one side, instead of the mutual tapering of both sides.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 77

    July 26, 2008

  • Haha, now that the WordNet definition is hovering next to the word my comment looks redundant.

    November 3, 2007

  • Interesting. It is also a letterpress term for a small, wedge-shaped piece of metal with teeth on one side. Used in sets of two, with their teeth facing eachother, quoins form an expandable rectangle that sits between blocks of wood (called furniture) on the press bed, and are tightened with a quoin key to secure type in place for printing.

    November 2, 2007

  • I think this word also describes an angular block of wood, with a "handle" on one end, placed under the butt of a cannon barrel to to help aim it downward. When the quoin is removed, the barrel rests on the gun carriage and points skyward--not directly, but at too high an angle to fire effectively.

    November 2, 2007

  • November 2, 2007