Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

quincunx

play
noun quin·cunx \ˈkwin-ˌkəŋ(k)s\

Definition of quincunx

  1. :  an arrangement of five things in a square or rectangle with one at each corner and one in the middle

quincuncial

play \kwin-ˈkən(t)-shəl\ or

quincunxial

play \-ˈkəŋk-sē-əl\ adjective


Did You Know?

To the Romans, a quincunx was a coin whose name comes from the Latin roots quinque, meaning "five," and uncia, meaning "one twelfth." The weight of the coin equaled five twelfths of a libra, a unit of weight similar to our pound. The ancients used a pattern of five dots arranged like the spots on a die as a symbol for the coin, and English speakers applied the word to arrangements similar to that distinctive five-dot mark.

Origin and Etymology of quincunx

Latin quincunc-, quincunx, literally, five twelfths, from quinque five + uncia twelfth part — more at five, ounce


First Known Use: 1545


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up quincunx? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!