Meaning of quincunx in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkwɪnkʌŋks/

nounplural noun quincunxes

  • 1An arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its centre, used for the five on a dice or playing card, and in planting trees.

    ‘He goes in for rhomboids, quincunxes, and chess logic; even his ubiquitous infinities are of a linear, ‘Euclidean’ sort.’
    • ‘People long ago produced fiendishly complicated analyses of visual forms: witness Nicholas of Cusa's tract on the all-seeing icon of Christ and Thomas Browne's labyrinthine meditation on the quincunx.’
    • ‘Most Mesomerican peoples understood the cosmos itself to be four-sided or quincunx in configuration, being defined by the four cardinal directions and a fifth, the center.’
    • ‘Its name derives from the Latin word quincunx for the X-like shape of the spots on the 5-face of a dice.’
  • 2Astrology
    mass noun An aspect of 150°, equivalent to five zodiacal signs.

    ‘Saturn conjunct, Mars opposition and quincunx Pluto, all are powerful and aggressive controlling aspects.’
    • ‘There are nine aspects in common use: the five major aspects - conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile - and four minor aspects - the semi-sextile, semi-square, sesquiquadrate and quincunx.’
    • ‘Also known as the quincunx and denoted by the symbol, it is said to represent a harsh or tense relationship based upon incompatibility.’


Early 17th century from Latin, literally ‘five twelfths’, from quinque ‘five’ + uncia ‘twelfth’.