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quaint Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite strange in an interesting or pleasing way
    • quaint dialect words
    • quaint streets of New Orleans, that most foreign of American cities
  2. adjective satellite very strange or unusual; odd or even incongruous in character or appearance
    • the head terminating in the quaint duck bill which gives the animal its vernacular name"- Bill Beatty
    • came forth a quaint and fearful sight"- Sir Walter Scott
    • a quaint sense of humor
  3. adjective satellite attractively old-fashioned (but not necessarily authentic)
    old-time; olde worlde.
    • houses with quaint thatched roofs
    • a vaulted roof supporting old-time chimney pots

Quaint adjective
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.
    Clerks be full subtle and full quaint. Chaucer.
  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.
    Every look was coy and wondrous quaint. Spenser.
    To show bow quaint an orator you are. Shak.
  3. Curious and fanciful; affected; odd; whimsical; antique; archaic; singular; unusual; as, quaint architecture; a quaint expression.
    Some stroke of quaint yet simple pleasantry. Macaulay.
    An old, long-faced, long-bodied servant in quaint livery. W. Irving.
    Syn. -- Quaint, Odd, Antique. 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.

Webster 1913