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 (sĭngk′foil′, săngk′-)
1. Any of various herbs or shrubs chiefly of the genus Potentilla of the rose family, native to northern temperate regions and having yellow or sometimes white or red flowers and compound leaves that in some species bear five leaflets. Also called potentilla.
2. Architecture A design having five sides composed of converging arcs, usually used as a frame for glass or a panel.

[Middle English cinkfoil : cink, five; see cinque + foil, leaf (translation of Old French quintefeuille, from Latin quīnquefolium, translation of Greek pentaphullon); see foil2.]


1. (Plants) any plant of the N temperate rosaceous genus Potentilla, typically having five-lobed compound leaves
2. (Architecture) an ornamental carving in the form of five arcs arranged in a circle and separated by cusps
3. (Heraldry) heraldry a charge representing a five-petalled flower
[C13 sink foil, from Old French cincfoille, from Latin quinquefolium plant with five leaves, translating Greek pentaphullon from pente five + phullon leaf]



1. any of several plants belonging to the genus Potentilla, of the rose family, having yellow, red, or white five-petaled flowers.
2. an architectural ornament consisting of five lobes, separated by cusps, radiating from a common center.
[1375–1425; late Middle English sink foil < Middle French cincfoille < Latin quīnque folia five leaves]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cinquefoil - any of a numerous plants grown for their five-petaled flowerscinquefoil - any of a numerous plants grown for their five-petaled flowers; abundant in temperate regions; alleged to have medicinal properties
genus Potentilla, Potentilla - chiefly perennial northern hemisphere herbs and shrubs: cinquefoil
goose-tansy, Potentilla anserina, silverweed, goose grass - low-growing perennial having leaves silvery beneath; northern United States; Europe; Asia
bush, shrub - a low woody perennial plant usually having several major stems
2.cinquefoil - an ornamental carving consisting of five arcs arranged in a circle
carving - a sculpture created by removing material (as wood or ivory or stone) in order to create a desired shape
References in classic literature ?
my broomstick hath strangely disappeared, stolen, as I suspect, by that unhanged witch, Goody Cory, and that, too, when I was all anointed with the juice of smallage, and cinquefoil, and wolf's bane"
This was my curious labor all summer -- to make this portion of the earth's surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse.
Delicate catnip, pink and purple, yellow buttercups, and cinquefoil seem to be everywhere.
Ombre, tile, ziggurat, cinquefoil and filigree patterns grace lampshades, rugs and drapery.
Who can resist such gems as tea of beggarticks (Bidens spp) for dry mucous membranes, cinquefoil (Potentilla spp) paste for healthy cuticles or a yummy blackcurrant sugar?
Each autumn, visitors feast their eyes on amber aspens, purple cinquefoil and rusty-red cottonwoods while scanning the land for black bear, elk and eagles.
Would we all be familiar with "meadow pipit," "marsh cinquefoil," "bird's-foot trefoil," "bee orchids," "puffballs," and "cloudberries," to say nothing of "Shetland mouse-ear," were it not for Longley's poems pointing the way to an understanding of the minor key of natural beauty which is heard in the background of his work?
The first site had been overrun with spotted knapweed, sulphur cinquefoil, and cheatgrass.
It appears, from the photograph, that it is one of the wild Potentillas - either the trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica) or the creeping cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans.
Its efficient cause is the draughtsman or architect, its material cause the dark colour, its formal cause the four pieces because if there had been three it would have been a trefoil and if five a cinquefoil.
For this purpose cinquefoil root may be boiled in diluted wine, and hyoscyamus root either in vinegar and water, or in wine, with the addition of a little salt, also poppy-head skins not too dry and mandragora root in the same condition.