[ sing-keyn, sing-keyn ]
/ sɪŋˈkeɪn, ˈsɪŋ keɪn /


a group of five.
  1. a short poem consisting of five, usually unrhymed lines containing, respectively, two, four, six, eight, and two syllables.
  2. any stanza of five lines.

Origin of cinquain

1705–15; < French < Late Latin cinque (see cinque) + French -ain collective suffix. See quatrain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cinquain


/ (sɪŋˈkeɪn, ˈsɪŋkeɪn) /


a stanza of five lines

Word Origin for cinquain

C18 (in the sense: a military company of five): from French cinq five, from Latin quinque; compare quatrain
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 cinquain



"collection of five," 1711, from French cinquain "bundle of five objects," from cinq "five" (see five). Originally in English of military orders of battle; of five-lined stanzas of verse from 1882 (give a more specific form in English than usual in French).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper