Pronunciation : kwin-tes'ens
1. The pure, highly concentrated essence of a thing.
2. The purest or most typical instance.
3. In ancient and medieval philosophy, the fifth and highest essence after the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, thought to be the substance of the heavenly bodies and latent in all things.
4. A basic trait or set of traits that define and establish the character of something.
5. The most central and material part.
6. Literally fifth essence
Middle English, from Old French quinte essence, fifth essence, from Medieval Latin quīnta essentia (translation of Greek pemptē ousiā : Latin quīnta, feminine of quīntus, fifth + Latin essentia, essence
• The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
• The quintessence of the torture was, moreover, my own secret.
• No French writer, however, has moved me so much as the Spanish, for the French are wanting in the humor which endears these, and is the quintessence of their charm.
Quintessential : Adjective
Quintessentially : Adverb
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