Definition of coign of vantage in English:

coign of vantage


  • A favorable position for observation or action.

    ‘The political-philosophical understanding of ideology is one such coign of vantage.’
    • ‘These we used as coigns of vantage and rest, but the last stage almost compelled a retreat.’
    • ‘Scampering and skittering up stony slopes we bag our coigns of vantage on the hills and sit in this thin heady oxygen.’
    • ‘These were all admirably designed as coigns of vantage to meet and check surprises, bursting from a passion-tossed mob.’
    • ‘Platforms as much as forty feet high supplied coigns of vantage for the look-out.’
    • ‘The steep hill to the west is rapidly being cleared of its logs and brush and fine houses are ascending its sides, and perching upon coigns of vantage and in sunny plats on their uneven slopes.’
    • ‘When all were finally seated, the spectacle from the galleries and all coigns of vantage was complete; a gorgeous one to look upon and to remember.’
    • ‘As Selden pointed out, when Englishmen came home from fighting the Saracens, and were beaten by them, they, to save their own credit, pictured their enemy with big, terrible faces, such as frowned at Dickens from so many coigns of vantage in the old Saracen's Head.’
    • ‘The Eiffel Tower has dwarfed all those eminences; they lie far below it, mere ant-hills in the landscape, although they seem high enough when one essays their steps; yet, although it makes them so lowly, these older coigns of vantage should not for a moment be considered as superseded, for each does for its immediate vicinage what the Eiffel giant can never do.’
    • ‘Despite the police - indeed, the police were powerless - they crowded upon frail coigns of vantage, as fences and high sidewalks propped on rotten piles, which fell beneath their weight, and hurled them, bruised and bleeding, into the dust.’


    From Shakespeare's Macbeth (I. iv. 7), popularized by Sir Walter Scott.