Quintessence Quin*tes"sence, n. [F., fr. L. quinta essentia fifth essence. See {Quint}, and {Essence}.] 1. The fifth or last and highest essence or power in a natural body. See {Ferment oils}, under {Ferment}. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Note: The ancient Greeks recognized four elements, fire, air, water, and earth. The Pythagoreans added a fifth and called it nether, the fifth essence, which they said flew upward at creation and out of it the stars were made. The alchemists sometimes considered alcohol, or the ferment oils, as the fifth essence. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence: An extract from anything, containing its rarest virtue, or most subtle and essential constituent in a small quantity; pure or concentrated essence. [1913 Webster]

Let there be light, said God; and forthwith light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. The most characteristic form or most perfect example of some type of object. [PJC]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • quintessence — [ kɛ̃tesɑ̃s ] n. f. • quinte essence v. 1265; lat. scolast. quinta essentia, trad. gr. pemptê ousia « cinquième essence » 1 ♦ Philos. anc. Cinquième élément (l éther) ajouté aux quatre éléments d Empédocle. ♢ Alchim. Qualité pure, principe… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • quintessence — Quintessence. s. f. Le plus pur, le plus subtil qui se tire des substances corporelles, par le feu, ou autrement. Les Chymistes jusqu à present n ont pû tirer la quintessence de l or. Il signifie figur. Ce qu il y a de principal, de plus fin, de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Quintessence — Quin*tes sence, v. t. To distil or extract as a quintessence; to reduce to a quintessence. [R.] Stirling. Truth quintessenced and raised to the highest power. J. A. Symonds. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Quintessence — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Progressive Rock Gründung 1969 Auflösung 1980 (?) Website …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • quintessence — I noun acme, acme of perfection, center, character, characteristic, consequence, consummation, content, core, cornerstone, corpus, culmination, distilled essence, elixir, essence, essentialness, essential part, gist, heart, height, kernel,… …   Law dictionary

  • quintessence — (n.) early 15c., in ancient and medieval philosophy, pure essence, substance of which the heavenly bodies are composed, lit. fifth essence, from M.Fr. quinte essence (14c.), from M.L. quinta essentia, from L. quinta, fem. of quintus fifth (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • quintessence — [n] essence, core apotheosis, bottom, distillation, epitome, essentiality, extract, gist, heart, kernel, last word, lifeblood, marrow, pith, quiddity, soul, spirit, stuff, substance, ultimate, virtuality; concepts 682,826 Ant. extra …   New thesaurus

  • quintessence — ► NOUN 1) the most perfect or typical example or embodiment of a quality or type. 2) a refined essence or extract of a substance. ORIGIN from Latin quinta essentia fifth essence , from the belief in ancient philosophy that a fifth substance… …   English terms dictionary

  • quintessence — [kwin tes′əns] n. [ME quyntencense < MFr quinte essence < ML quinta essentia] 1. in ancient and medieval philosophy, the fifth essence, or ultimate substance, of which the heavenly bodies were thought to be composed: distinguished from the… …   English World dictionary

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