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[kweynt] /kweɪnt/
adjective, quainter, quaintest.
having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque:
a quaint old house.
strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way:
a quaint sense of humor.
skillfully or cleverly made.
Obsolete. wise; skilled.
Origin of quaint
1175-1225; Middle English queinte < Old French, variant of cointe clever, pleasing ≪ Latin cognitus known (past participle of cognōscere; see cognition)
Related forms
quaintly, adverb
quaintness, noun
1. antiquated, archaic. 2. curious, uncommon.
2. ordinary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for quaint
  • She found the building quaint and historic; he thought it was just old.
  • She has a quaint morality, a narcissistic personality.
  • The notion of solitude seems quaint nowadays.
  • Newly arrived in a quaint mountain village, Emma longs for friends to play with.
  • It is a small island ringed by sandy beaches and populated by islanders who still speak a quaint French.
  • As we walked inside, we were covered by the quaint decor.
  • Hansen accompanies himself on an autoharp, a zither-like instrument, that adds a quaint flavor to his readings.
  • To the tourists, all this seems charmingly quaint.
  • Your quaint and simple logic has inspired me.
  • Two miles inland lies the quaint village of Bushmills, its narrow main street lined with old stone taverns and country inns.
British Dictionary definitions for quaint


attractively unusual, esp in an old-fashioned style: a quaint village
odd, peculiar, or inappropriate: a quaint sense of duty
Derived Forms
quaintly, adverb
quaintness, noun
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: clever): from Old French cointe, from Latin cognitus known, from cognoscere to ascertain
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
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Word Origin and History for quaint

c.1200, cointe, "cunning, ingenious; proud," from Old French cointe "knowledgeable, well-informed; clever; arrogant, proud; elegant, gracious," from Latin cognitus "known, approved," past participle of cognoscere "get or come to know well" (see cognizance). Modern spelling is from early 14c.

Later in English, "elaborate, skillfully made" (c.1300); "strange and clever" (mid-14c.). Sense of "old-fashioned but charming" is first attested 1795, and could describe the word itself, which had become rare after c.1700 (though it soon recovered popularity in this secondary sense). Related: Quaintly; quaintness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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