Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • A group of seaports of southeast England (originally Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich) that formed a maritime and defensive association in the 11th century. They reached the height of their significance in the Anglo-French conflicts of the 14th century.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A series of five historic coastal towns in Kent and Sussex; namely, Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Five English ports, to which peculiar privileges were anciently accorded; -- viz., Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich; afterwards increased by the addition of Winchelsea, Rye, and some minor places.

Etymologies

From Anglo-Norman. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • II ordered the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports to take measures to prevent their invasion of his kingdom.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • [52] Lord Hawkesbury was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports at a salary of L3000 a year.

    Sydney Smith

  • Mr. Camden observes that the town of Foy quarters some part of the arms of every one of those Cinque Ports with their own, intimating that they had at several times trampled over them all.

    From London to Land's End

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