from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The pure, highly concentrated essence of a thing.
- n. The purest or most typical instance: the quintessence of evil.
- n. 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A thing that is the most perfect example of its type; the most perfect embodiment of something.
- n. A pure substance.
- n. The essence in a thing that in its purest and most concentrated form.
- n. The fifth alchemical element, or essence, after earth, air, fire, and water
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The fifth or last and highest essence or power in a natural body. See Ferment oils, under ferment.
- n. Hence: An extract from anything, containing its rarest virtue, or most subtle and essential constituent in a small quantity; pure or concentrated essence.
- n. The most characteristic form or most perfect example of some type of object.
- transitive v. To distil or extract as a quintessence; to reduce to a quintessence.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The fifth essence, or fifth body, not composed of earth, water, fire, or air; the substance of the heavenly bodies, according to Aristotle, who seems in this matter to follow Pythagorean doctrine.
- n. Hence An extract from anything, containing its virtues or most essential part in a small quantity; pure and concentrated essence; the best and purest part of a thing; in old chemistry, an alcoholic tincture or essence often made by digestion at common temperatures or in the sun's heat, and always at a gentle heat.
- To extract as a quintessence; reduce to a quintessence.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire and water; was believed to be the substance composing all heavenly bodies
- n. the most typical example or representative of a type
- n. the purest and most concentrated essence of something
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; see penkwe in Indo-European roots + Latin essentia, essence; see essence.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin quinta essentia "fifth essence". (Wiktionary)