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.]
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."
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
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.
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Wed 12th December 2018