Definition of cinquefoil in English:


See synonyms for cinquefoil on


  • 1A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the rose family, with compound leaves of five leaflets and five-petaled yellow flowers.

    Genus Potentilla, family Rosaceae: numerous species, including the small-flowered creeping common cinquefoil (P. simplex) and the larger-flowered erect rough-fruited cinquefoil (P. recta)

    ‘One of these plants, Robbins' cinquefoil or dwarf cinquefoil, has been proposed for removal from the federal endangered species list.’
    • ‘If you have a toothache or mouth sore, you might try cinquefoil, a native plant.’
    • ‘Deciduous cinquefoil has long been used for borders and ground covers in cold-climate gardens.’
    • ‘Rare cinquefoil bloom just inches from the path and marsh grasses waft in the breeze.’
    • ‘The Robbins' cinquefoil is endemic to a harsh alpine environment in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire.’
  • 2Art
    An ornamental design of five lobes arranged in a circle, e.g. in architectural tracery or heraldry.

    • ‘The cinquefoil, when inscribed in a circle, forms a rosette of five equal leaves having an open space in the middle, the leaves being formed by the open spaces.’



/ˈsiNGkˌfoil/ /ˈsɪŋkˌfɔɪl/ /ˈsaNGkˌfoil/ /ˈsæŋkˌfɔɪl/


Middle English from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque ‘five’ + folium ‘leaf’.