: any of a genus (Potentilla) of herbs and shrubs of the rose family usually having 5-lobed leaves and 5-petaled flowers

called also potentilla

: a design enclosed by five joined foils

Illustration of cinquefoil

Illustration of cinquefoil
  • cinquefoil 2

Examples of cinquefoil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Standouts include the Çınarlı Mosque, formerly the Greek Orthodox church of Ayios Yorgis, built in 1790 with its ionic columns and cinquefoil windows. Feride Yalav-Heckeroth, CNN, 24 May 2023 There are many different types of weeds that can spoil a lush, green lawn: crabgrass, dandelions, white clover, quack grass, wood sorrel, bindweed, broad-leaf plantain, cinquefoil and creeping charley to name a few. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 19 Apr. 2019 DeBolt recently drove through Stanley and found an array of meadow flowers in bloom, including wyethia (aka mule’s ears), elephant heads, penstemon, cinquefoil, buckwheat and scarlet gilia. Anna Webb, idahostatesman, 10 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cinquefoil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English sink foil, from Anglo-French cincfoille, from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque five + folium leaf — more at blade

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cinquefoil was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cinquefoil

Cite this Entry

“Cinquefoil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


cinque·​foil ˈsiŋk-ˌfȯil How to pronounce cinquefoil (audio) ˈsaŋk- How to pronounce cinquefoil (audio)
: any of a group of plants that have leaves with five lobes and are related to the roses

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