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[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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cinquain
  • Select an topic and ask the students to write cinquain or haiku poems about it.
  • Use letters to describe one of the animal pelts or to write a cinquain poem about one of the pelts.
  • In the center of this snowflake, write a cinquain about winter wildlife.
  • Have each pair use their interview responses to create a cinquain poem.
British Dictionary definitions for cinquain


/sɪŋˈkeɪn; ˈsɪŋkeɪn/
a stanza of five lines
Word Origin
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
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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
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