quin·​cunx | \ ˈkwin-ˌkəŋ(k)s How to pronounce quincunx (audio) \

Definition of quincunx

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

Other Words from quincunx

quincuncial \ kwin-​ˈkən(t)-​shəl How to pronounce quincunx (audio) \ or quincunxial \ kwin-​ˈkəŋk-​sē-​əl How to pronounce quincunx (audio) \ adjective

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 However, once the Moon stumbles into a challenging quincunx with messenger Mercury, talking to others could actually overcomplicate all of our plans. Chicago Tribune, 18 May 2022 The researchers discovered figurative and numerical depictions of the Mixtec calendar’s year of the lizard, as well as the quincunx—a geometric design alluding to the four directions and the center of the universe. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Mar. 2022 As Stacy Liberatore reports for the Daily Mail, quincunx patterns seen on the objects represent the axis mundi, while the head of a water snake references the underworld. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2021 The 18th ushers in three in-conjunct aspects like small waves of inquiry: Venus in Leo quincunx Pluto in Capricorn, Mercury in Cancer quincunx Saturn in Aquarius, and Mars in Leo quincunx Neptune in Pisces. Gala Mukomolova, refinery29.com, 18 July 2021 At the same time, Saturn continues its tense square to Uranus while making a quincunx to the full moon. Gala Mukomolova, refinery29.com, 2 Mar. 2021 The Sun forms a quincunx against transformative Pluto on Sunday, encouraging us to think less selfishly and consider our impact on the world. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, 14 June 2020 On Tuesday, flirtatious Venus creates a challenging quincunx with dynamic Uranus. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, 2 Nov. 2020 Montúfar says that at this eclipse, both the sun and the moon will be forming a tense quincunx aspect to task-master Saturn in Aquarius. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 19 June 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quincunx.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quincunx

1545, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quincunx

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

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The first known use of quincunx was in 1545

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quincunx.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quincunx. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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