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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Definitions for cinquefoil

  1. any of several plants belonging to the genus Potentilla, of the rose family, having yellow, red, or white five-petaled flowers, as P. reptans (creeping cinquefoil) of the Old World, or P. argentea (silvery cinquefoil) of North America.
  2. Also called quinquefoil, quintefoil. Architecture. a panellike ornament consisting of five lobes, divided by cusps, radiating from a common center.
  3. Heraldry. a charge in the form of a five-leaved clover.

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Citations for cinquefoil
Cinquefoil, with small yellow blossom, and ranunculus, with glossy yellow cup, edged the sunny roads ... Janet Lewis, The Trial of Sören Qvist, 1947
This was my curious labor all summer,--to make this portion of the earth's surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse. Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Origin of cinquefoil
late Middle English
1375-1425
The English noun cinquefoil comes from Middle French cincfoille “five leaves.” Cincfoille corresponds to Latin quīnque folia, a translation of Greek pentáphyllon, literally “five leaves,” and the name of the creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) or the silvery cinquefoil (P. argentea). Cinquefoil entered English in the 15th century.