- 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.
- Also called quinquefoil, quintefoil. Architecture. a panellike ornament consisting of five lobes, divided by cusps, radiating from a common center.
- Heraldry. a charge in the form of a five-leaved clover.
Origin of cinquefoil
1375–1425; late Middle English sink foil < Middle French cincfoille < Latin quīnque folia five leaves, translation of Greek pentáphyllon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cinquefoil
In June, he writes, "The wind dies, bees hover outside the open tower windows, the cinquefoil blooms butter yellow in the meadow."Great Weekend Reads
The Daily Beast
April 23, 2011
They are closely allied to cinquefoil, and all belong to the rose family.Seed Dispersal
William J. Beal
These are thicker than in the Cinquefoil, and are often tinged with pink.Flowers Shown to the Children
C. E. Smith
On the south side the westernmost Perpendicular bay, up to the triforium, is solid and covered with cinquefoil panelling.
The panels are pointed and divided each into two cinquefoil divisions.
Over each seat is an ogee canopy, cinquefoil, crocketed, and surmounted by a huge finial.
- any plant of the N temperate rosaceous genus Potentilla, typically having five-lobed compound leaves
- an ornamental carving in the form of five arcs arranged in a circle and separated by cusps
- heraldry a charge representing a five-petalled flower
C13 sink foil, from Old French cincfoille, from Latin quinquefolium plant with five leaves, translating Greek pentaphullon from pente five + phullon leaf
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 cinquefoil
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper