Word of the Day : May 16, 2016

quincunx

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noun KWIN-kunks

Definition

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

Did You Know?

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

The sculptures in the square were arranged in a quincunx with the outer ones marking the perimeter and the middle one serving as the centerpiece.

"The towers of Angkor Wat—shaped in a quincunx, five points in a cross—were named after Mount Meru, the home of the gods believed in Indian myth to lie at the center of the world." — William Dalrymple, The New York Review of Books, 21 May 2015



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to create a Latin-based adjective meaning "of, relating to, or proceeding by twelve": d _ _ de _ i _ al.

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