from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A composition for five voices or five instruments.
  • noun A group of five singers or five instrumentalists.
  • noun A group of five.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music: A movement for five solo parts, either vocal or instrumental. Instrumental quintets are essentially similar to quartets.
  • noun A company of five singers or players who perform quintets.
  • noun A bicycle made to carry five.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) A composition for five voices or instruments; also, the set of five persons who sing or play five-part music.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music A composition (a type of chamber music) in five parts (typically each a singer or instrumentalist, sometimes several musicians)
  • noun music A group of five musicians, fit to play such a piece of music together
  • noun Any group of five members

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a musical composition for five performers
  • noun five performers or singers who perform together
  • noun the cardinal number that is the sum of four and one
  • noun five people considered as a unit
  • noun a set of five similar things considered as a unit


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from Italian quintetto, diminutive of quinto, fifth, from Latin quīntus; see penkwe in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian quintetto, diminutive of quinto ("fifth"), itself from Latin quintus, related to quīnque ("five").


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  • My father never held a tennis racket or a golf club, and he couldn't kick a football or catch a swift pitch, but he bowled whenever he got a chance – tenpins, duckpins, candlepins, cocked hat, and quintet, a difficult game, the rules for which I was told he had helped to make up.

    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Gentleman from Indiana', in The Thurber Album

    July 18, 2008