The most essential part of anything; the pure essence of a substance; the most typical example of something.
O my lady Dulcinea of Toboso! the sun of all beauty, the end and quintessence of discretion, the treasury of sweet countenance and carriage, the storehouse of honesty, and finally, the idea of all that which is profitable, modest, or delightful in the world! and what might thy ladyship be doing at this present? Hast thou perhaps thy mind now upon thy captive knight, that most wittingly exposeth himself to so many dangers for thy sake?
—Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1605)