quin·​cunx ˈkwin-ˌkəŋ(k)s How to pronounce quincunx (audio)
: an arrangement of five things in a square or rectangle with one at each corner and one in the middle
quincuncial adjective
or quincunxial

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Give Me Five for Quincunx

In ancient Rome, a quincunx was a coin with a weight equal to five twelfths of a libra, a unit of weight similar to our pound. The coin's name comes from the Latin roots quinque, meaning "five," and uncia, meaning "one twelfth."  The ancients used a pattern of five dots arranged like the pips on a die as a symbol for the coin, and English speakers applied the word to arrangements similar to that distinctive five-dot mark.

Examples of quincunx in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The fiery Sun and volcanic Pluto stumble into a quincunx at 2:07 pm EDT, goading inflated egos to confront one another. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 21 Aug. 2023 The Sun in Gemini locks into an unusual quincunx with alchemical Pluto, riling everyone up. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 21 June 2023 The essentials are highlighted as the Sun tours your 2nd House of Values, but someone else blasts into the picture as the Sun makes a rough quincunx to Mars in your 7th House of Relationships. Chicago Tribune, 30 Dec. 2022 We’re encouraged to be as flexible as possible on Sunday, when the ego-ruling Sun forms a quincunx with change-loving Uranus. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, 29 Nov. 2020 The Moon will make a final thoughtful quincunx to Saturn, who's just arrived in Pisces, so some minor daydreaming can be genuinely helpful. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 7 Mar. 2023 The trouble, however, likely comes from the tense quincunx between the status-seeking Sun and power broker Pluto, exact at 12:10 pm EDT. Chicago Tribune, 19 Aug. 2022 Knowing the best way to react will feel far more difficult as the Sun makes an uncomfortable quincunx to Mars at 6:21 pm EST. Chicago Tribune, 30 Dec. 2022 Lock in that progress with a final lunar quincunx to Saturn. Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quincunx.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1545, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quincunx was in 1545


Dictionary Entries Near quincunx

Cite this Entry

“Quincunx.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quincunx. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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