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"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).
a five-line stanza. The American poet Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914), applied the term in particular to a five-line verse form of specific metre that she developed. Analogous to the Japanese verse forms haiku and tanka, it has two syllables in its first and last lines and four, six, and eight in the intervening three lines and generally has an iambic cadence. An example is her poem "November Night": Listen With faint dry soundLike steps of passing ghosts,the leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the treesAnd fall