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quaint

[kweynt]
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adjective, quaint·er, quaint·est.
  1. having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque: a quaint old house.
  2. strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way: a quaint sense of humor.
  3. skillfully or cleverly made.
  4. Obsolete. wise; skilled.

Origin of quaint

1175–1225; Middle English queinte < Old French, variant of cointe clever, pleasing ≪ Latin cognitus known (past participle of cognōscere; see cognition)
Related formsquaint·ly, adverbquaint·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. antiquated, archaic. 2. curious, uncommon.

Antonyms

2. ordinary.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quaint

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And then there are the quaint epitaphs on the gravestones, of which many have made collections.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • It was of finer material than most of the "Egyptians," and the fashion was quaint and graceful.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • It is quaint and severe, however, and abounding in dry conceits.

  • Meg and Jan had tears in their eyes as they watched the quaint spectacle.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • The Owlet is twin to that quaint little bird, so its name flew to her and stayed.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael


British Dictionary definitions for quaint

quaint

adjective
  1. attractively unusual, esp in an old-fashioned stylea quaint village
  2. odd, peculiar, or inappropriatea quaint sense of duty
Derived Formsquaintly, adverbquaintness, noun

Word Origin

C13 (in the sense: clever): from Old French cointe, from Latin cognitus known, from cognoscere to ascertain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for quaint

adj.

c.1200, cointe, "cunning, ingenious; proud," from Old French cointe "knowledgeable, well-informed; clever; arrogant, proud; elegant, gracious," from Latin cognitus "known, approved," past participle of cognoscere "get or come to know well" (see cognizance). Modern spelling is from early 14c.

Later in English, "elaborate, skillfully made" (c.1300); "strange and clever" (mid-14c.). Sense of "old-fashioned but charming" is first attested 1795, and could describe the word itself, which had become rare after c.1700 (though it soon recovered popularity in this secondary sense). Related: Quaintly; quaintness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper