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quincunx. Arrangement or disposition of five objects so placed that four occupy the corners of a square and the fifth the centre. Common in schemes of planting, it is also the basis of the plan of many Byzantine churches on a Greek-cross plan with four barrel-vaulted bays, central dome, and the corner bays supporting small domes over the angles of the cross (the cross-in-square plan).


Mango (1986);
Symes (1993);
D. Watkin (1986)


views updated Jun 11 2018

quincunx in astrology, an aspect of 150°, equivalent to five zodiacal signs, first referred by the English astrologer William Lilly (1602–81).

Quincunx is also used for an 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 (this sense, which is also found in Latin, apparently derives from the use of five dots or dashes, arranged in this way, to denote five twelfths of an as), an ancient Roman copper coin.

The word is Latin, and means literally ‘five twelfths’.


views updated May 14 2018


An astrology term denoting planets at a distance of five signs of 150 degrees from each other. The term was once generally used to denote a disposition of five objects (especially plants or trees) placed so that there is one in each corner of a square or rectangle with the fifth in the center. The use of the quincunx in various aspects throughout history was exhaustively discussed by the English physician and author Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) in his book The Garden of Cyrus (1658).


views updated May 11 2018

quincunx arrangement of five objects so placed that four occupy the corners and the fifth the centre. XVII. — L. quincunx five-twelfths (6/12 of an as was denoted by five dashes arranged as above), f. quinque FIVE + uncia twelfth (see OUNCE1).

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