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quince

[kwins]
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noun
  1. either of two small trees, Cydonia oblonga or C. sinensis, of the rose family, bearing hard, fragrant, yellowish fruit used chiefly for making jelly or preserves.
  2. the fruit of such a tree.

Origin of quince

1275–1325; Middle English quince, apparently orig. plural (taken as singular) of quyne, coyn < Middle French cooin < Latin cotōneum, akin to cydōnium < Greek (mêlon) Kydṓnion quince, literally, (apple) of Cydonia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for quince

quince

noun
  1. a small widely cultivated Asian rosaceous tree, Cydonia oblonga, with pinkish-white flowers and edible pear-shaped fruits
  2. the acid-tasting fruit of this tree, much used in preserves
  3. Also: Japanese or flowering quince another name for japonica

Word Origin

C14 qwince plural of quyn quince, from Old French coin, from Latin cotōneum, from Greek kudōnion quince, Cydonian (apple)
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 quince

n.

early 14c., plural of quoyn, from Old French cooin (Modern French coing), from Vulgar Latin codoneum, from Latin cotoneum malum "quince fruit," probably a variant of cydonium malum, from Greek kydonion malon "apple of Kydonia" (modern Khania), ancient seaport city in Crete.

The plant is native to Persia, Anatolia, and Greece; the Greeks imported grafts for their native plants from a superior strain in Crete, hence the name. Kodu- also was the Lydian name for the fruit. Italian cotogno, German Quitte, etc. all are ultimately from the Greek word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper