Quaint vs Idiosyncratic - What's the difference?

quaint | idiosyncratic | Related terms |

Quaint is a related term of idiosyncratic.

As adjectives the difference between quaint and idiosyncratic

is that quaint is (obsolete) of a person: cunning, crafty while idiosyncratic is peculiar to a specific individual; eccentric.

As a noun quaint

is (archaic) the vulva.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) cointe, (queinte) et al., (etyl) .


  • (obsolete) Of a person: cunning, crafty.
  • * 1591 , (William Shakespeare), Henry VI part 2 :
  • But you, my Lord, were glad to be imploy'd, / To shew how queint an Orator you are.
  • (obsolete) Cleverly made; artfully contrived.
  • * 1667 , (John Milton), Paradise Lost , Book IX:
  • describe races and games, / Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields, / Impresses quaint , caparisons and steeds, / Bases and tinsel trappings [...].
  • * 1596 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , IV.4:
  • Till that there entered on the other side / A straunger knight, from whence no man could reed, / In quyent disguise, full hard to be descride […].
  • * 1808 , (Walter Scott), Marmion XX:
  • Lord Gifford, deep beneath the ground, / Heard Alexander's bugle sound, / And tarried not his garb to change, / But, in his wizard habit strange, / Came forth,—a quaint and fearful sight!
  • * 1924 , Time , 17 Nov 1924:
  • What none would dispute though many smiled over was the good-humored, necessary, yet quaint omission of the writer's name from the whole consideration.
  • (obsolete) Overly discriminating or needlessly meticulous; fastidious; prim.
  • * 1590 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , III.7:
  • She, nothing quaint / Nor 'sdeignfull of so homely fashion, / Sith brought she was now to so hard constraint, / Sate downe upon the dusty ground anon [...].
  • Pleasingly unusual; especially, having old-fashioned charm.
  • * 1815 , (Jane Austen), Emma :
  • I admire all that quaint , old-fashioned politeness; it is much more to my taste than modern ease; modern ease often disgusts me.
  • * 2011 , Ian Sample, The Guardian , 31 Jan 2011:
  • The rock is a haven for rare wildlife, a landscape where pretty hedgerows and quaint villages are bordered by a breathtaking, craggy coastline.


    * See also

    Derived terms

    * quaintly * quaintness

    Etymology 2

    A variant of cunt (possibly as a pun).


    (en noun)
  • (archaic) The vulva.
  • * c. 1390 , Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Wife of Bath's Tale", Canterbury Tales :
  • And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me, / I hadde þe beste queynte þat myghte be.
  • * 2003 , Peter Ackroyd, The Clerkenwell Tales , p. 9:
  • The rest looked on, horrified, as Clarice trussed up her habit and in open view placed her hand within her queynte crying, ‘The first house of Sunday belongs to the sun, and the second to Venus.’




    (en adjective)
  • Peculiar to a specific individual; eccentric.
  • * 1886 , (Robert Louis Stevenson), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , ch. 9:
  • At the time, I set it down to some idiosyncratic , personal distaste . . . but I have since had reason to believe the cause to lie much deeper in the nature of man.
  • * 1891 , (George MacDonald), The Flight of the Shadow , ch. 12:
  • It was no merely idiosyncratic experience, for the youth had the same: it was love!
  • * 1982 , Michael Walsh, " Music: A Fresh Falstaff in Los Angeles," Time , 26 April:
  • British Director Ronald Eyre kept the action crisp; he was correctly content to execute the composer's wishes, rather than impose a fashionably idiosyncratic view of his own.