quaint


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Quaint \Quaint\, a. [OE. queint, queynte, coint, prudent, wise,
   cunning, pretty, odd, OF. cointe cultivated, amiable,
   agreeable, neat, fr. L. cognitus known, p. p. of cognoscere
   to know; con + noscere (for gnoscere) to know. See Know,
   and cf. Acquaint, Cognition.]
   1. Prudent; wise; hence, crafty; artful; wily. [Obs.]
      [1913 Webster]

            Clerks be full subtle and full quaint. --Chaucer.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. Characterized by ingenuity or art; finely fashioned;
      skillfully wrought; elegant; graceful; nice; neat.
      [Archaic] " The queynte ring." " His queynte spear."
      --Chaucer. " A shepherd young quaint." --Chapman.
      [1913 Webster]

            Every look was coy and wondrous quaint. --Spenser.
      [1913 Webster]

            To show bow quaint an orator you are. --Shak.
      [1913 Webster]

   3. Curious and fanciful; affected; odd; whimsical; antique;
      archaic; singular; unusual; as, quaint architecture; a
      quaint expression.
      [1913 Webster]

            Some stroke of quaint yet simple pleasantry.
                                                  --Macaulay.
      [1913 Webster]

            An old, long-faced, long-bodied servant in quaint
            livery.                               --W. Irving.
      [1913 Webster]

   Syn: Quaint, Odd, Antique.

   Usage: Antique is applied to that which has come down from
          the ancients, or which is made to imitate some ancient
          work of art. Odd implies disharmony, incongruity, or
          unevenness. An odd thing or person is an exception to
          general rules of calculation and procedure, or
          expectation and common experience. In the current use
          of quaint, the two ideas of odd and antique are
          combined, and the word is commonly applied to that
          which is pleasing by reason of both these qualities.
          Thus, we speak of the quaint architecture of many old
          buildings in London; or a quaint expression, uniting
          at once the antique and the fanciful.
          [1913 Webster]
Feedback Form