from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The 16th century, especially in Italian art and literature.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The sixteenth century, with reference to Italy, and especially with reference to the fine arts of that period.
  • Executed or designed in the sixteenth century: applied specifically to the decorative art and architecture characteristic of the attempt at purification of style and reversion to classical forms which attained full development in Italy at the beginning of the sixteenth century; also often loosely applied to ornament of the sixteenth century in general, properly included in the term renaissance.
  • Living in the sixteenth century.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • The sixteenth century, when applied to Italian art or literature.


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

[Italian, from (mil) cinquecento, (one thousand) five hundred : cinque, five (from Latin quīnque; see penkwe in Indo-European roots) + cento, hundred (from Latin centum; see dekm̥ in Indo-European roots).]


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  • It seems the Wordnikonians have run out of aboriginal and French words with which to taunt us and are now resorting to Italian.

    Return from Japan with a memento -

    A clever gizmo or lacquered bento,

    But when you get home

    From your visit to Rome

    Your souvenir is the cinquecento.

    Our intrepid collector is on the case but, as usual, his trusting nature puts him in peril of error:

    Poor Ernest they fool with casual ease

    And "cinquecento" is the latest tease.

    They think it funny

    To tell him it's money

    And means "small change" in Chinese.

    For more on the gullible Ernest Bafflewit see methinks and cahot.

    May 5, 2014