One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A cinquefoil (genus Potentilla), which typically has compound leaves of five leaflets. Now chiefly US and rare.
2An ornamental design resembling this leaf; = "cinquefoil". rare.
Resembling the quinquefoil leaf, quinquefoil-shaped.
Old English; earliest use found in Bald's Leechbook. From classical Latin quīnquefolium cinquefoil (the plant), in post-classical Latin also ornamental design resembling this leaf, use as noun of neuter of quīnquefolius having five leaves from quīnque- + folium leaf.
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