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[kwin-tn] /ˈkwɪn tn/
an object mounted on a post or attached to a movable crossbar mounted on a post, used as a target in the medieval sport of tilting.
the sport of tilting at a quintain.
Origin of quintain
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English quyntain object for tilting at < Middle French quintaine or Medieval Latin quintāna, of obscure origin; the alleged connection with Latin quīntāna “market place in a military camp” is dubious Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for quintain
Historical Examples
  • A shield is hanged upon a pole (this is a kind of quintain) fixed in the midst of the stream.

    Old English Sports Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • Accordingly she once more betook herself to the quintain post.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
  • She resolved that, at any rate, to him nothing more should be said about the quintain that day.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
  • This appears to be a relic of the ancient Welsh game of quintain, or gwyntyn.

    British Goblins Wirt Sikes
  • It is the custom to hoist married men, who are not blest with children, on the quintain, which is made to revolve rapidly.

    Old English Sports Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • Among the exercises glanced at in this sketch of the Londoner's sportive year, the quintain is conspicuous.

  • The animal swerved and shied and galloped off wide of the quintain.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
  • Various military exercises were, however, in existence, among which was the quintain.

  • If you can jump over a ditch and hedge, I am sure you could turn the quintain round.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
  • He had undertaken to come mounted on a nag of his father's and show the way at the quintain post.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for quintain


noun (esp in medieval Europe)
a post or target set up for tilting exercises for mounted knights or foot soldiers
the exercise of tilting at such a target
Word Origin
C14: from Old French quintaine, from Latin: street in a Roman camp between the fifth and sixth maniples, from quintus fifth
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 quintain

"target for tilting and jousting practice," c.1400 (in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), from Old French quintaine or directly from Medieval Latin quintana; perhaps from Latin quintana "of the fifth" (see quinque-), which as a noun meant "the business part of a camp," on the supposition that this was where military exercises were done [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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