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.”
n 1: the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire
and water; was believed to be the substance composing
all heavenly bodies [syn: ether]
2: the purest and most concentrated essence of something
3: the most typical example or representative of a type