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quintessence

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noun quin·tes·sence \kwin-ˈte-sən(t)s\

Definition of quintessence

  1. 1 :  the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies

  2. 2 :  the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form

  3. 3 :  the most typical example or representative <the quintessence of calm>

quin·tes·sen·tial play \ˌkwin-tə-ˈsen(t)-shəl\ adjective
quin·tes·sen·tial·ly adverb


Examples of quintessence

  1. <the Parthenon in Greece was considered the quintessence of the perfectly proportioned building>

  2. <a selfless desire to help others is the quintessence of the virtue of charity>



Origin of quintessence

Middle English, from Middle French quinte essence, from Medieval Latin quinta essentia, literally, fifth essence


First Known Use: 15th century




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