[ singk-foil ]
/ ˈsɪŋkˌfɔɪl /


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.

Nearby words

  1. cinque ports,
  2. cinque terre,
  3. cinquecentist,
  4. cinquecento,
  5. cinquedea,
  6. cintra,
  7. cinzano,
  8. cinéma vérité,
  9. cio,
  10. cion

Origin of cinquefoil

1375–1425; late Middle English sink foil < Middle French cincfoille < Latin quīnque folia five leaves, translation of Greek pentáphyllon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cinquefoil

British Dictionary definitions for cinquefoil


/ (ˈsɪŋkˌfɔɪl) /


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

Word Origin for cinquefoil

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



from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque (see five) + folium (see folio).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper