- Quintessence is someone or something that is a classic example of a characteristic or persona.
When a person is a classic example of someone who is polite, this is an example of a person who is thequintessence of good manners.
quintessence definition by Webster's New World
- in ancient and medieval philosophy, the fifth essence, or ultimate substance, of which the heavenly bodies were thought to be composed: distinguished from the four elements (air, fire, water, and earth)
- the pure, concentrated essence of anything
- the most nearly perfect manifestation of a quality or thing
Origin: Middle English quyntencense ; from Middle French quinte essence ; from Midieval Latin quinta essentia
- quintessential adjective
quintessence definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The pure, highly concentrated essence of a thing.
- The purest or most typical instance: the quintessence of evil.
- 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.
Origin: 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.