Definition of quaint in English:
- We have so many quaint old settler cottages as well as grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
- This is a quaint old-fashioned shrub that is ideal for both town and country gardens.
- After all, look how modern these quaint old institutions are becoming.
Middle English: from Old French cointe, from Latin cognitus 'ascertained', past participle of cognoscere. The original sense was 'wise, clever', also 'ingenious, cunningly devised', hence 'out of the ordinary' and the current sense (late 18th century).
In the Middle Ages quaint meant ‘wise, clever’, and ‘ingenious, cunningly designed, or skilfully made’. Another early sense was ‘beautiful or elegant’. Over time these meanings led to the more general notion of ‘out of the ordinary’. The current use, describing something interestingly unusual or old-fashioned, is found from the late 18th century—before this, the word had become quite rare. It comes from Old French cointe, from Latin cognoscere ‘to know’, which is the root of words such as acquaint (Middle English), literally ‘to make known to’; cognoscenti (late 18th century) from Italian for ‘those who know’; incognito; and recognize.
- Example sentences
- The towering Karlovic caused a stunning upset by smashing defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of this year's Gentlemen's Singles, as the event is so quaintly named.
- Two admirals are already behind bars for stealing a tanker full of crude, an endemic practice quaintly known as ‘bunkering.’
- It's in the quaintly romantic idea of his proferred hand, her smile of acceptance, the communion of eyes during the dance, even though most of us are there to romance the dance rather than each other.
- Example sentences
- Typically, critics focused on the strangeness and quaintness of the boxes, missing some of the ‘richness & poetry’ that had flowed into the making of Cornell's constructions.
- The people are so nice, the city so pleasant and full of history, but what I see so far is that it has English quaintness yet all the luxuries we are used to in America.
- Like nearly everything in the Fitzroy Gardnes, it is looking a bit the worse for wear, but the slight shabbiness and quaintness contributes to the tree's charm and friendliness, rather than detracting from it.
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