Definition of quintain in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkwɪntɪn/


1A post set up as a mark in tilting with a lance, typically with a sandbag attached that would swing round and strike an unsuccessful tilter.
Example sentences
  • The object of the exercise was to strike the quintain hard enough to knock it all the way over, beyond its projecting braces, onto its shield backs.
  • The medieval mood prevails throughout Friday and Saturday, with carols in the old Yarn Market, craft stalls in the castle grounds and a piggyback quintain tournament at 7.30 pm on Saturday - tots for knights, dads for steeds.
  • Among the myriad of skills to be mastered, was tilting at the quintain.
1.1 (the quintain) The medieval military exercise of tilting at a quintain.


Late Middle English: from Old French quintaine, perhaps based on Latin quintana, a street in a Roman camp separating the fifth and sixth maniples, where military exercises were performed (from quintus 'fifth').

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