The sentence to be used: From humble beginnings to supreme leader of the army, Major General Deakin Field is the quintessence of an ordinary person who can achieve extraordinary things.

What I'm struggling with: supreme - the word sounds a bit too totalitarian and I was wondering if there was a better word for a high ranking, well-respected and loyal leader. quintessence - I think this is the right sort of word to use, but I just wanted to check. I am wanting to use it to describe a person who is a 'prime example' of something. Almost an embodiment.

Suggestions appreciated.

  • Supreme implies that he is the highest-ranking officer in the army - I don't know if that is the meaning you intend. Mar 3, 2021 at 9:49
  • @KateBunting It is. He is very high ranking (not the top), but like I said, the word sounds a bit too totalitarian. Any other you can suggest? Mar 3, 2021 at 9:50
  • I don't think you've quite grasped the point made by @KateBunting. She asked whether your meaning was that he was the highest ranking officer and you said "It is. He is very high ranking (not the top)" which means that he is not the "supreme", "paramount" or "overall" leader of the army. The head of state is the "Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces" which means that there is political control over the leaders of the Army, Navy and Air Force but each of those has a supreme/paramount/overall commander. If Field is "not the top" he is not the supreme leader of the army.
    – BoldBen
    Mar 3, 2021 at 11:11
  • @BoldBen then how would I go about describing him then? Mar 3, 2021 at 11:13
  • "One of the highest-ranking officers in the army"? Mar 3, 2021 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


'Paramount' has largely the same meaning as 'supreme', so you could substitute for that. Though to @KateBunting's comment on the question, if they aren't at the very top then neither may be what you are looking for.

'Quintessence' works, but 'epitome' may be more a more common way of saying it.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.