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

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