Definitions for: Quintessence


[n] the most typical example or representative of a type
[n] the purest and most concentrated essence of something
[n] (archaic) the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire and water; was believed to be the substance composing all heavenly bodies



Webster (1913) Definition: 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.]

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.

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

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


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.

Synonyms: ether

See Also: center, core, element, essence, example, gist, heart, heart and soul, illustration, instance, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, representative, substance, sum




Famous Quotes Containing Quintessence:


The universal medicine for the Soul is the Supreme Reason and Absolute Justice; for the mind, mathematical and practical Truth; for the body, the Quintessence, a combination of light and gold.

-- Albert Pike (American Lawyer)

Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.

-- Philipus Aureolus Paracelsus (Swiss Scientist)

It seems not to have been written. It is the quintessence of life. It is the basic truth.

-- Brooks Atkinson (American Critic)

The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.

-- Hannah Arendt (German Historian)

For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.

-- Amy Lowell (American Poet)

For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men lived and worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.

-- Gene Fowler (American Journalist)


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