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[kwing-kuhngks, kwin-] /ˈkwɪŋ kʌŋks, ˈkwɪn-/
an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle.
Botany. an overlapping arrangement of five petals or leaves, in which two are interior, two are exterior, and one is partly interior and partly exterior.
Origin of quincunx
1640-50; < Latin: five twelfths (quinc-, variant of quīnque- quinque- + uncia twelfth; see ounce1); originally a Roman coin worth five twelfths of an as and marked with a quincunx of spots Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for quincunx


a group of five objects arranged in the shape of a rectangle with one at each of the four corners and the fifth in the centre
(botany) a quincuncial arrangement of sepals or petals in the bud
(astrology) an aspect of 150° between two planets
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: five twelfths, from quinque five + uncia twelfth; in ancient Rome, this was a coin worth five twelfths of an as² and marked with five spots
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quincunx

1640s, originally astrological, of planetary alignments, from Latin, literally "five twelfths" (especially "five unciae," that is, "five-twelfths of an as," the basic unit of Roman currency), from quinque "five" (see quinque-) + uncia "ounce; a twelfth part (of anything)," related to unus "one" (see one). Applied, especially in garden design, to arrangements like the five pips on a playing card (1660s). Related: Quincuncial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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