1
a
: pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar
a quaint phrase
b
: unusual or different in character or appearance : odd
2
a
: marked by skillful design
quaint with many a device in India inkHerman Melville
b
: marked by beauty or elegance
3
obsolete : expert, skilled
quaintly adverb
quaintness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for quaint

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected.

strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable.

a journey filled with strange sights

singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness.

a singular feeling of impending disaster

unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel.

a career unique in the annals of science

peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness.

the peculiar status of America's First Lady

eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior.

the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers

erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating.

a friend's suddenly erratic behavior

odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected.

an odd sense of humor

quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness.

a quaint fishing village

outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric.

outlandish fashions of the time

Examples of quaint in a Sentence

A lot can change in 25 years, and Yountville has gone from an also-ran on the Napa food-and-wine tourism scene to the focus of activity. The quaint bed and breakfasts of yesterday have been replaced by upscale hotels and inns, and the village has become a mecca for top chefs. Tim Fish, Wine Spectator, 15 June 2008
Therefore, when the federal Constitutional Convention decided in 1787 that U.S. senators would be appointed by state legislatures rather than elected by the people at large, the drafters were actually placing the choice of U.S. senators in the control of state leaders who had met their states' highest qualifications for property and religion. Today, these property and religious qualifications are likely to strike us as quaint historical oddities. Richard N. Rosenfeld, Harper's, May 2004
Five minutes by ferry from the bustling concrete depths of Wall Street sits what could be a quaint New England town: stately, collegiate buildings framed by tree-lined walkways where the wind rustles through aging oak trees. Andrea Elliott, New York Times, 25 July 2003
The fishing village was very quaint. The writer talks about the quaint customs of the natives.
Recent Examples on the Web Turning away from his life as an indestructible DIA officer, the former Marine seeks sanctuary from the scars of his violent past in a quaint Italian town but is disrupted once his newfound friends face threats from the Camorra, a local Mafia-like group. Dennis Perkins, EW.com, 17 Jan. 2024 Itching to spend time in a quaint German town, consider Helen, Georgia. Tara Massouleh McCay, Southern Living, 11 Jan. 2024 These rampages have become quaint and kitschy, safe enough to be parodied by Austin Powers and Pee-wee Herman. Robert Rubsam, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2024 The house was relatively quaint, but many of the people the Kissingers socialized with there — including the designer Oscar de la Renta and the violinist Isaac Stern — were not. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2023 Those images are the entry point to a project that goes from quaint German conference rooms to robust Harlem street corners to quaint Southern porches. Keyaira Boone, Essence, 16 Dec. 2023 Off-mountain charm abounds, thanks to Vail Village's quaint Alpine architecture and its long list of high-end spas, restaurants, and hotels. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 22 Nov. 2023 To be clear, there was something almost quaint and pleasant about a run of hosts who were sort of just … there to be there (though Bad Bunny did have a new album out). Esther Zuckerman, The Atlantic, 12 Nov. 2023 Architecturally, Méribel is also the quaintest resort, with multiple villages made up of traditional wooden chalets nestled in between pine trees. Sara Lieberman, Travel + Leisure, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English queinte, cointe, from Anglo-French, clever, expert, from Latin cognitus, past participle of cognoscere to know — more at cognition

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of quaint was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near quaint

Cite this Entry

“Quaint.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaint. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

quaint

adjective
: unusual or different in quality or appearance
especially : pleasingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar
a quaint fishing village
quaintly adverb
quaintness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on quaint

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