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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
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.
But--would your worship believe it?--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"
Cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.), beggarweeds (Desmodium spp.) and composites (Compositae), although more common in clearcuts, were also among the most commonly occurring taxa in our forest plots.
Love, Potentilla fruticosa L.; Shrubby Cinquefoil; Ditch fen and sedge meadow; Rare; C = 9; BSUH 14840.
Montgomeryshire - touch-me-not balsam, floating water plantain, rock cinquefoil, rock stonecrop, spiked speedwell, ivy-leaved bellflower;
Potentilla simplex Michx.: common cinquefoil. Infrequent along roads and in floodplains; 210; 174; &; C = 2.
Love, Potentilla fruticosa L.; Shrubby Cinquefoil; Fen and sedge meadows; Abundant; C = 9; BSUH 13590.
(*) Potentilla recta L.; Sulphur Five-fingers or Cinquefoil; Roadside and dry field; Common; C = 0; BSUH 13282.
Potentilla norvegica L.; Rough Cinquefoil; fields; infrequent; C = 0; BSUH 12595.
Also notable are Arisaema dracontium (green dragon), Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (slender mountain mint), Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil), and early specimens of Impatiens capensis (spotted jewelweed).
Potentilla argentea L.: (*,+); Silvery Five-finger or Cinquefoil; rare, one site with many plants; field; BSUH 11043.
Rough cinquefoil; infrequent; Farmer's Field and Gymnopilus Meadow; BSUH 8275.