quintessence

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quintessence

1. an extract of a substance containing its principle in its most concentrated form
2. (in ancient and medieval philosophy) ether, the fifth and highest essence or element after earth, water, air, and fire, which was thought to be the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies and latent in all things
References in classic literature ?
This object could not be anything else but the second bulb, that is to say, the quintessence of all the hopes of the prisoner.
But to be among them, controlling them, directing them, two hundred of them, and to escape being eaten by them--that, at least, if it isn't romantic, is certainly the quintessence of adventure.
The huge and unmeaning glass chandeliers, prism-cut, gas-lighted, and without shade, which dangle in our most fashionable drawing-rooms, may be cited as the quintessence of all that is false in taste or preposterous in folly.