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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 quaintly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What a charming little child she was, so quaintly sensible, and with a simplicity and innocence that went to one's heart.

    A Little Girl in Old Boston Amanda Millie Douglas
  • He discovered her quaintly with a jar of pickled frogs in her hand.

    The Innocent Adventuress Mary Hastings Bradley
  • When not acting as her brother's assistant or secretary, she devoted her time to what she quaintly called "minding the heavens."

    Woman in Science John Augustine Zahm
  • It took the form of a dozen quaintly shaped forks and knives.

  • This subject of love the little poetess had long and quaintly studied.

  • Her hair, was it quaintly curly,Or as straight as a beadle's wand?

British Dictionary definitions for quaintly


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 quaintly



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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