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An 19th-century caricature of a “dandizette” or quaintrelle.

Borrowed from Late Middle English queintrelle, queyntrelle (person of fashion), from Middle French cointerelle, from Middle French cointerel (vain)[1] + -elle, -ele (suffix forming feminine diminutive nouns), possibly influenced by quaint. Cointerel is derived from cointe (clever, intelligent; quaint),[2] from Latin cognitus (known, recognized; acknowledged, noted), the perfect passive participle of cōgnōscō (to be acquainted (with), recognize; to learn; to know), from con- (prefix meaning ‘with’) + (g)nōscō (to know, recognize) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵneh₃- (to know) + *-sḱéti (suffix forming durative or iterative imperfective verbs from roots)).



quaintrelle (plural quaintrelles)

  1. (archaic, rare) A woman who is focused on style and leisurely pastimes. [apparently a single use in the mid 15th c.; revived in the 21st c.]
    Synonyms: (archaic) dandizette, (obsolete) dandyess
    Antonyms: see Thesaurus:dandy
    • [c. 1430, Guillaume de Deguileville, chapter XLVII, in [anonymous], transl., edited by William Aldis Wright, The Pilgrimage of the Lyf of the Manhode. From the French (Cambridge University Library, MS Kk.1.7) (in Middle English), London: Printed for the Roxburghe Club; J[ohn] B[owyer] Nichols and Sons, [], published 1869, →OCLC, 3rd part, folio 109, page 160:
      It folweth nouht that thouh j be thus kembt and a litel make the queyntrelle that for swich cause j am fair
      It followeth not that though I be thus kempt [neat and tidy], and a little make the quaintrelle, that for such cause I am fair]
    • 2010, William James Henry [pseudonym; Rick Yancey], “‘Ich Habe Dich Auch Vermisst’”, in The Curse of the Wendigo (The Monstrumologist; 2), New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, →ISBN, page 208:
      On this evening, however, Warthrop became as punctilious as the fussiest quaintrelle. I, as his impromptu valet, bore the brunt of his anxiety. His waistcoat was wrinkled. His shoes were scuffed. His cravat was crooked.
    • 2011, Glenda L. Swetman, Alison Trappey, “Principles of Gender-specific Medicine”, in Lawrence Charles Parish, Sarah Brenner, Marcia Ramos-e-Silva, Jennifer L. Parish, editors, Manual of Gender Dermatology, Sudbury, Mass., Mississauga, Ont.: Jones & Bartlett Learning, →ISBN, part I (Primer of Gender Dermatology), page 9:
      From Rosie the Riveter to Coco Channel[sic – meaning Coco Chanel] (in pants!), from Amelia Earhart to the quaintrelle (the female dandy), change in women's dress has symbolized everything from the right and need to work outside the home to wearing pants as a fashion statement to excelling at a profession (even as an aviatrix) to once again claiming the right to cultivate life's pleasures.
    • 2015, Hrishikesh Joshi, chapter 14, in Checkmate, Mumbai, Maharashtra: Frog Books, →ISBN:
      Her sparkling, hazel eyes emitted a pearly glow … the windows to to an untarnished, unblemished soul. Her spirit was that of a quaintrelle. He was struck by her nuances, which did not seem so subtle after all.
    • 2016 February, Christine Reilly, “The Claudio who Promised”, in Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 70:
      She was the type of woman who deserved to live in a villa or a fancy hotel. The kind of woman you named a star after. A quaintrelle.
    • 2018 August 31, Felix Bongjoh, Season of Flowers[1], Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN:
      His smile becomes the flowering flame, a bunch / Of exquisitely beautiful daisies / Among which dandies and quaintrelles flourish / With parrot and chameleon power in full bloom.
    • 2019, James Leo Cahill, “Metamorphoses: Crustaceans, the Coming of Sound, and Plasmatic Anthropomorphism”, in Zoological Surrealism: The Nonhuman Cinema of Jean Painlevé, Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, →ISBN:
      [Jean] Painlevé presented Hyas and Stenorhynchus crabs as both masters of disguise—engaging in forms of camouflage or blending into their environment—and undersea dandies and quaintrelles.



  1. ^ queintrelle, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ † quaintrelle, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2007; see also James A. H. Murray [et al.], editors (1884–1928), “Quaintrelle, n.”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volumes VIII, Part 1 (Q–R), London: Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 14, column 2.

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