I never use this word in polite conversation. My attempts at sounding sophisticated come out sounding prissy instead. Plus I would probably stumble over its proper pronunciation and make a quintessential fool of myself.
1. of the pure and essential essence of something: the quintessential Jewish delicatessen.
2. of or pertaining to the most perfect embodiment of something: the quintessential performance of the Brandenburg Concertos.
The purest, most characteristic, perfect example of a particular type.
Yesterday I fell asleep in the afternoon heat. I used to watch my grandmother do the same thing. She’d sit down to read and her eyes would close and her head would nod and the book would fall from her fingers onto her lap. Once I gently touched her shoulder and startled her awake and she told me she wasn’t really napping, she was just resting her eyes.
So! Yesterday I was resting my eyes in the warm sunshine. When I opened them the sky was overcast and a cool breeze was chilling me to the bone. It’s how the seasons change. One day it’s summer and the next day it’s just not. I know the autumnal equinox does not officially begin until the 22nd of September, but here in my little spot on the northern hemisphere it is already fall. These chilled old bones do not lie.
I found the quintessential bit of poetry to describe exactly how yesterday felt to me.
It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.
–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt is probably the quintessential name for a poet. If I ever expect to make it as a poet I can see I will have to seriously lengthen my name.
We had the quintessential autumn sunset the other night as I was leaving work, but I didn’t get a picture of it. Look at this photo and imagine a half deserted parking lot in the foreground, a few power poles here and there and a Wendy’s sign twinkling in the distance. And take out the waves. There. Quintessentially perfect.
Hmm. Did I just say perfectly perfect? I’m never using this prissy word again.