The name means "five fingers", and it describes the width of the blade next to the guard. The blade was heavy, about 45cm in length, and tapered to a somewhat rounded point. The grip was simple with a small pommel, and the guard was curved with the concave side toward the point. There were typically several furrows along the wider sides of the blade to lighten the weapon. The wide blade was useful for decorative etching. This weapon was varied in size, being anywhere in size from 10" to 28". Often carried in place of a knife or larger sword.
The cinquedea was used primarily as a thrusting weapon. It was carried horizontally next to the buttocks so that it could be drawn laterally from the back.