British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
qua conj. in the capacity of; as being (Napoleon qua general). [L,
ablat. fem. sing. of qui who (rel. pron.)]
quack(1) v. & n. --n. the harsh sound made by ducks. --v.intr. 1 utter
this sound. 2 colloq. talk loudly and foolishly. [imit.: cf.
Du. kwakken, G quacken croak, quack]
quack(2) n. 1 a an unqualified practiser of medicine. b (attrib.) of or
characteristic of unskilled medical practice ( quack cure). 2 a
charlatan. 3 sl. any doctor or medical officer. ЬЬquackery n.
quackish adj. [abbr. of quacksalver f. Du. (prob. f. obs.
quacken prattle + salf SALVE(1))]
quad(1) n. colloq. a quadrangle. [abbr.]
quad(2) n. colloq. = QUADRUPLET 1. [abbr.]
quad(3) n. Printing a piece of blank metal type used in spacing.
[abbr. of earlier QUADRAT]
quad(4) n. & adj. --n. quadraphony. --adj. quadraphonic. [abbr.]
n. & adj. --n. a person from 40 to 49 years old. --adj. of
this age. [LL quadragenarius f. quadrageni distrib. of
n. the first Sunday in Lent. [LL, fem. of L quadragesimus
fortieth f. quadraginta forty, Lent having 40 days]
adj. 1 (of a fast, esp. in Lent) lasting forty days. 2 Lenten.
n. 1 a four-sided plane figure, esp. a square or rectangle. 2
a a four-sided court, esp. enclosed by buildings, as in some
colleges. b such a court with the buildings round it.
ЬЬquadrangular adj. [ME f. OF f. LL quadrangulum square, neut.
of quadrangulus (as QUADRI-, ANGLE(1))]
quadrant n. 1 a quarter of a circle's circumference. 2 a plane figure
enclosed by two radii of a circle at right angles and the arc
cut off by them. 3 a quarter of a sphere etc. 4 a a thing,
esp. a graduated strip of metal, shaped like a quarter-circle.
b an instrument graduated (esp. through an arc of 90ш) for
taking angular measurements. ЬЬquadrantal adj. [ME f. L
quadrans -antis quarter f. quattuor four]
adj. (also quadrophonic) (of sound reproduction) using four
transmission channels. ЬЬquadraphonically adv. quadraphonics
n.pl. quadraphony n. [QUADRI- + STEREOPHONIC]
quadrat n. Ecol. a small area marked out for study. [var. of
quadrate adj., n., & v. --adj. esp. Anat. & Zool. square or rectangular
(quadrate bone; quadrate muscle). --n. 1 a quadrate bone or
muscle. 2 a rectangular object. --v. 1 tr. make square. 2
intr. & tr. (often foll. by with) conform or make conform. [ME
f. L quadrare quadrat- make square f. quattuor four]
quadratic adj. & n. Math. --adj. 1 involving the second and no higher
power of an unknown quantity or variable (quadratic equation).
2 square. --n. 1 a quadratic equation. 2 (in pl.) the branch
of algebra dealing with these. [F quadratique or mod.L
quadraticus (as QUADRATE)]
n. 1 Math. the process of constructing a square with an area
equal to that of a figure bounded by a curve, e.g. a circle. 2
Astron. a each of two points at which the moon is 90ш from the
sun as viewed from earth. b the position of a heavenly body in
relation to another 90ш away. [F quadrature or L quadratura (as
adj. 1 lasting four years. 2 recurring every four years.
ЬЬquadrennially adv. [as QUADRENNIUM]
n. (pl. quadrenniums or quadrennia) a period of four years.
[L quadriennium (as QUADRI-, annus year)]
quadri- comb. form denoting four. [L f. quattuor four]
quadric adj. & n. Geom. --adj. (of a surface) described by an equation
of the second degree. --n. a quadric surface. [L quadra
n. Anat. a four-headed muscle at the front of the thigh.
[mod.L (as QUADRI-, BICEPS)]
quadrifid adj. Bot. having four divisions or lobes. [L quadrifidus (as
QUADRI-, findere fid- cleave)]
adj. & n. --adj. having four sides. --n. a four-sided figure.
[LL quadrilaterus (as QUADRI-, latus lateris side)]
n. 1 a square dance containing usu. five figures. 2 the music
for this. [F f. Sp. cuadrilla troop, company f. cuadra square
or It. quadriglia f. quadra square]
n. a card game for four players with forty cards, fashionable
in the 18th c. [F, perh. f. Sp. cuartillo f. cuarto fourth,
assim. to QUADRILLE(1)]
n. (pl. same or quadrillions) a thousand raised to the fifth
(or formerly, esp. Brit., the eighth) power (10(15) and 10(24)
respectively). [F (as QUADRI-, MILLION)]
n. & adj. Math. --n. an expression of four algebraic terms.
--adj. of or being a quadrinomial. [QUADRI- + Gk nomos part,
adj. 1 consisting of four parts. 2 shared by or involving four
n. Med. paralysis of all four limbs. ЬЬquadriplegic adj. & n.
[mod.L (as QUADRI-, Gk plege blow, strike)]
adj. Chem. having a valency of four.
n. hist. a medieval university course of arithmetic, geometry,
astronomy, and music. [L, = the place where four roads meet (as
QUADRI-, via road)]
quadroon n. the offspring of a White person and a mulatto; a person of
one quarter Negro blood. [Sp. cuarterўn f. cuarto fourth,
assim. to QUADRI-]
var. of QUADRAPHONIC.
adj. (of primates other than humans) four-handed, i.e. with
opposable digits on all four limbs. [mod.L quadrumana neut. pl.
of quadrumanus (as QUADRI-, L manus hand)]
quadruped n. & adj. --n. a four-footed animal, esp. a four-footed mammal.
--adj. four-footed. ЬЬquadrupedal adj. [F quadrupЉde or L
quadrupes -pedis f. quadru- var. of QUADRI- + L pes ped- foot]
quadruple adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 fourfold. 2 a having four parts. b
involving four participants (quadruple alliance). 3 being four
times as many or as much. 4 (of time in music) having four
beats in a bar. --n. a fourfold number or amount. --v.tr. &
intr. multiply by four; increase fourfold. ЬЬquadruply adv. [F
f. L quadruplus (as QUADRI-, -plus as in duplus DUPLE)]
n. 1 each of four children born at one birth. 2 a set of four
things working together. 3 Mus. a group of four notes to be
performed in the time of three. [QUADRUPLE, after triplet]
adj. & v. --adj. 1 fourfold. 2 of which four copies are made.
--v.tr. 1 multiply by four. 2 make four identical copies of.
Ьin quadruplicate in four identical copies. ЬЬquadruplication
n. [L quadruplicare f. quadruplex -plicis fourfold: cf.
n. the state of being fourfold. [L quadruplex -plicis (see
QUADRUPLICATE), after duplicity]
quaestor n. either of two ancient Roman magistrates with mainly
financial responsibilities. ЬЬquaestorial adj. quaestorship n.
[ME f. L f. quaerere quaesit- seek]
quaff v. literary 1 tr. & intr. drink deeply. 2 tr. drain (a cup
etc.) in long draughts. ЬЬquaffable adj. quaffer n. [16th c.:
quag n. a marshy or boggy place. ЬЬquaggy adj. [rel. to dial.
quag (v.) = shake: prob. imit.]
quagga n. an extinct zebra-like mammal, Equus quagga, formerly native
to S. Africa, with yellowish-brown stripes on the head, neck,
and forebody. [Xhosa-Kaffir iqwara]
quagmire n. 1 a soft boggy or marshy area that gives way underfoot. 2 a
hazardous or awkward situation. [QUAG + MIRE]
quahog n. (US quahaug) any of various edible clams of the Atlantic
coast of N. America. [Narraganset Indian]
quaich n. (also quaigh) Sc. a kind of drinking-cup, usu. of wood and
with two handles. [Gael. cuach cup, prob. f. L caucus]
quail(1) n. (pl. same or quails) any small migratory bird of the genus
Coturnix, with a short tail and allied to the partridge. [ME f.
OF quaille f. med.L coacula (prob. imit.)]
quail(2) v.intr. flinch; be apprehensive with fear. [ME, of unkn.
quaint adj. 1 piquantly or attractively unfamiliar or old-fashioned.
2 daintily odd. ЬЬquaintly adv. quaintness n. [earlier senses
'wise, cunning': ME f. OF cointe f. L cognitus past part. of
quake v. & n. --v.intr. 1 shake, tremble. 2 rock to and fro. 3 (of
a person) shake or shudder (was quaking with fear). --n. 1
colloq. an earthquake. 2 an act of quaking. Ьquaking-grass any
grass of the genus Briza, having slender stalks and trembling in
the wind: also called dodder-grass. ЬЬquaky adj. (quakier,
quakiest). [OE cwacian]
Quaker n. a member of the Society of Friends, a Christian movement
devoted to peaceful principles and eschewing formal doctrine,
sacraments, and ordained ministers. ЬЬQuakerish adj. Quakerism
n. [QUAKE + -ER(1)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of qualifying. 2 an accomplishment
fitting a person for a position or purpose. 3 a a circumstance,
condition, etc., that modifies or limits (the statement had many
qualifications). b a thing that detracts from completeness or
absoluteness (their relief had one qualification). 4 a
condition that must be fulfilled before a right can be acquired
etc. 5 an attribution of a quality (the qualification of our
policy as opportunist is unfair). ЬЬqualificatory adj. [F
qualification or med.L qualificatio (as QUALIFY)]
qualify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. make competent or fit for a position or
purpose. 2 tr. make legally entitled. 3 intr. (foll. by for)
(of a person) satisfy the conditions or requirements (for a
position, award, competition, etc.). 4 tr. add reservations to;
modify or make less absolute (a statement or assertion). 5 tr.
Gram. (of a word, esp. an adjective) attribute a quality to
another word, esp. a noun. 6 tr. moderate, mitigate; make less
severe or extreme. 7 tr. alter the strength or flavour of. 8
tr. (foll. by as) attribute a specified quality to, describe as
(the idea was qualified as absurd). 9 tr. (as qualifying adj.)
serving to determine those that qualify (qualifying
examination). ЬЬqualifiable adj. qualifier n. [F qualifier f.
med.L qualificare f. L qualis such as]
adj. concerned with or depending on quality (led to a
qualitative change in society). Ьqualitative analysis Chem.
detection of the constituents, as elements, functional groups,
etc., present in a substance (opp. quantitative analysis).
ЬЬqualitatively adv. [LL qualitativus (as QUALITY)]
quality n. (pl. -ies) 1 the degree of excellence of a thing (of good
quality; poor in quality). 2 a general excellence (their work
has quality). b (attrib.) of high quality ( a quality product).
3 a distinctive attribute or faculty; a characteristic trait. 4
the relative nature or kind or character of a thing (is made in
three qualities). 5 the distinctive timbre of a voice or sound.
6 archaic high social standing (people of quality). 7 Logic the
property of a proposition's being affirmative or negative.
Ьquality control a system of maintaining standards in
manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against
the specification. [ME f. OF qualit‚ f. L qualitas -tatis f.
qualis of what kind]
qualm n. 1 a misgiving; an uneasy doubt esp. about one's own conduct.
2 a scruple of conscience. 3 a momentary faint or sick feeling.
ЬЬqualmish adj. [16th c.: orig. uncert.]
quandary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a state of perplexity. 2 a difficult
situation; a practical dilemma. [16th c.: orig. uncert.]
quango n. (pl. -os) a semi-public body with financial support from and
senior appointments made by the government. [abbr. of quasi (or
quasi-autonomous) non-government(al) organization]
quant n. & v. --n. Brit. a punting-pole with a prong at the bottom
to prevent it sinking into the mud, as used by Norfolk bargemen
etc. --v.tr. (also absol.) propel (a boat) with a quant. [15th
c.: perh. f. L contus f. Gk kontos boat-pole]
quanta pl. of QUANTUM.
quantal adj. 1 composed of discrete units; varying in steps, not
continuously. 2 of or relating to a quantum or quantum theory.
ЬЬquantally adv. [L quantus how much]
quantic n. Math. a rational integral homogeneous function of two or
quantify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 determine the quantity of. 2 measure or
express as a quantity. 3 Logic define the application of (a
term or proposition) by the use of all, some, etc., e.g. 'for
all x if x is A then x is B'. ЬЬquantifiable adj.
quantifiability n. quantification n. quantifier n. [med.L
quantificare (as QUANTAL)]
adj. 1 a concerned with quantity. b measured or measurable by
quantity. 2 of or based on the quantity of syllables.
Ьquantitative analysis Chem. measurement of the amounts of the
constituents of a substance (opp. QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS).
ЬЬquantitatively adv. [med.L quantitativus (as QUANTITY)]
quantity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the property of things that is measurable. 2
the size or extent or weight or amount or number. 3 a specified
or considerable portion or number or amount (buys in quantity;
the quantity of heat in a body). 4 (in pl.) large amounts or
numbers; an abundance (quantities of food; is found in
quantities on the shore). 5 the length or shortness of vowel
sounds or syllables. 6 Math. a a value, component, etc. that
may be expressed in numbers. b the figure or symbol
representing this. Ьquantity mark a mark put over a vowel etc.
to indicate its length. quantity surveyor a person who measures
and prices building work. quantity theory the hypothesis that
prices correspond to changes in the monetary supply. [ME f. OF
quantit‚ f. L quantitas -tatis f. quantus how much]
quantize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 form into quanta. 2 apply quantum
mechanics to. ЬЬquantization n.
quantum n. (pl. quanta) 1 Physics a a discrete quantity of energy
proportional in magnitude to the frequency of radiation it
represents. b an analogous discrete amount of any other
physical quantity. 2 a a required or allowed amount. b a share
or portion. Ьquantum jump (or leap) 1 a sudden large increase
or advance. 2 Physics an abrupt transition in an atom or
molecule from one quantum state to another. quantum mechanics
(or theory) Physics a system or theory using the assumption that
energy exists in discrete units. [L, neut. of quantus how much]
adj. Geol. pointing in every direction. [LL quaquaversus f.
quaqua wheresoever + versus towards]
n. & v. --n. 1 isolation imposed on persons or animals that
have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to, and might
spread, infectious or contagious disease. 2 the period of this
isolation. --v.tr. impose such isolation on, put in quarantine.
[It. quarantina forty days f. quaranta forty]
quark(1) n. Physics any of several postulated components of elementary
particles. [invented word, assoc. with 'Three quarks for Muster
Mark' in Joyce's Finnegans Wake (1939)]
quark(2) n. a type of low-fat curd cheese. [G]
n. & v. --n. 1 a violent contention or altercation between
individuals or with others. 2 a rupture of friendly relations.
3 an occasion of complaint against a person, a person's actions,
etc. --v.intr. (quarrelled, quarrelling; US quarreled,
quarreling) 1 (often foll. by with) take exception; find fault.
2 fall out; have a dispute; break off friendly relations.
ЬЬquarreller n. [ME f. OF querele f. L querel(l)a complaint f.
n. hist. a short heavy square-headed arrow or bolt used in a
crossbow or arbalest. [ME f. OF quar(r)el ult. f. LL quadrus
adj. given to or characterized by quarrelling. ЬЬquarrelsomely
adv. quarrelsomeness n.
quarrian n. (also quarrion) a cockatiel. [prob. Aboriginal]
quarry(1) n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an excavation made by taking stone
etc. for building etc. from its bed. 2 a place from which
stone etc. may be extracted. 3 a source of information,
knowledge, etc. --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. extract (stone) from a
quarry. 2 tr. extract (facts etc.) laboriously from books etc.
3 intr. laboriously search documents etc. [ME f. med.L
quare(r)ia f. OF quarriere f. L quadrum square]
quarry(2) n. (pl. -ies) 1 the object of pursuit by a bird of prey,
hounds, hunters, etc. 2 an intended victim or prey. [ME f. AF
f. OF cuiree, couree (assim. to cuir leather and curer
disembowel) ult. f. L cor heart: orig. = parts of deer placed on
hide and given to hounds]
quarry(3) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a diamond-shaped pane of glass as used in
lattice windows. 2 (in full quarry tile) an unglazed
floor-tile. [a later form of QUARREL(2) in the same sense]
quarryman n. (pl. -men) a worker in a quarry.
quart n. 1 a liquid measure equal to a quarter of a gallon; two
pints. 2 a vessel containing this amount. 3 US a unit of dry
measure, equivalent to one-thirty-second of a bushel (1.1
litre). 4 (also quarte) the fourth of eight parrying positions
in fencing. Ьa quart into a pint pot 1 a large amount etc.
fitted into a small space. 2 something difficult or impossible
to achieve. [ME f. OF quarte f. L quarta fem. of quartus fourth
f. quattuor four]
quartan adj. (of a fever etc.) recurring every fourth day. [ME f. OF
quartaine f. L (febris fever) quartana f. quartus fourth]
quarte var. of QUART 4.
quarter n. & v. --n. 1 each of four equal parts into which a thing is
or might be divided. 2 a period of three months, usu. for which
payments become due on the quarter day. 3 a point of time 15
minutes before or after any hour. 4 a school or US university
term. 5 a 25 US or Canadian cents. b a coin of this
denomination. 6 a part of a town, esp. as occupied by a
particular class or group (residential quarter). 7 a a point of
the compass. b a region at such a point. 8 the direction,
district, or source of supply etc. (help from any quarter; came
from all quarters). 9 (in pl.) a lodgings; an abode. b Mil.
the living accommodation of troops etc. 10 a one fourth of a
lunar month. b the moon's position between the first and second
(first quarter) or third and fourth (last quarter) of these. 11
a each of the four parts into which an animal's or bird's
carcass is divided, each including a leg or wing. b (in pl.)
hist. the four parts into which a traitor etc. was cut after
execution. c (in pl.) = HINDQUARTERS. 12 mercy offered or
granted to an enemy in battle etc. on condition of surrender.
13 a Brit. a grain measure equivalent to 8 bushels. b
one-fourth of a hundredweight (28 lb. or US 25 lb.). 14 a each
of four divisions on a shield. b a charge occupying this,
placed in chief. 15 either side of a ship abaft the beam. 16
(in American and Australian football) each of four equal periods
into which a match is divided. --v.tr. 1 divide into quarters.
2 hist. divide (the body of an executed person) in this way. 3
a put (troops etc.) into quarters. b station or lodge in a
specified place. 4 (foll. by on) impose (a person) on another
as a lodger. 5 cut (a log) into quarters, and these into planks
so as to show the grain well. 6 (esp. of a dog) range or
traverse (the ground) in every direction. 7 Heraldry a place or
bear (charges or coats of arms) on the four quarters of a
shield's surface. b add (another's coat) to one's hereditary
arms. c (foll. by with) place in alternate quarters with. d
divide (a shield) into four or more parts by vertical and
horizontal lines. Ьquarter-binding the type of bookbinding in
which the spine is bound in one material (usu. leather) and the
sides in another. quarter day one of four days on which
quarterly payments are due, tenancies begin and end, etc.
quarter-final a match or round preceding the semifinal.
quarter-hour 1 a period of 15 minutes. 2 = sense 3 of n.
quarter-light Brit. a window in the side of a motor vehicle,
closed carriage, etc. other than the main door-window.
quarter-line Rugby Football a space enclosed by a line across
the ground 22 metres from the goal-line. quarter note esp. US
Mus. a crotchet. quarter-plate 1 a photographic plate or film
8.3 x 10.8 cm. 2 a photograph reproduced from it. quarter
sessions hist. (in the UK) a court of limited criminal and
civil jurisdiction and of appeal, usu. held quarterly.
quarter-tone Mus. half a semitone. [ME f. AF quarter, OF
quartier f. L quartarius fourth part (of a measure) f. quartus
n. 1 a quarterly payment. 2 a quarter's wages, allowance,
n. a player in American football who directs attacking play.
n. 1 part of a ship's upper deck near the stern, usu. reserved
for officers. 2 the officers of a ship or the navy.
n. 1 (in pl.) the coats of arms marshalled on a shield to
denote the alliances of a family with the heiresses of others.
2 the provision of quarters for soldiers. 3 the act or an
instance of dividing, esp. into four equal parts. 4 timber sawn
into lengths, used for high-quality floor-boards etc.
quarterly adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 produced or occurring once every
quarter of a year. 2 (of a shield) quartered. --adv. 1 once
every quarter of a year. 2 in the four, or in two diagonally
opposite, quarters of a shield. --n. (pl. -ies) a quarterly
review or magazine.
n. 1 a regimental officer in charge of quartering, rations,
etc. 2 a naval petty officer in charge of steering, signals,
etc. ЬQuartermaster General the head of the army department in
charge of quartering etc. quartermaster sergeant a sergeant
assisting an army quartermaster.
quartern n. Brit. archaic a quarter of a pint. Ьquartern loaf a
four-pound loaf. [ME, = quarter f. AF quartrun, OF quart(e)ron
f. QUART fourth or quartier QUARTER]
n. hist. a stout pole 6-8 feet long, formerly used as a
quartet n. (also quartette) 1 Mus. a a composition for four voices or
instruments. b the performers of such a piece. 2 any group of
four. [F quartette f. It. quartetto f. quarto fourth f. L
quartic adj. & n. Math. --adj. involving the fourth and no higher
power of an unknown quantity or variable. --n. a quartic
equation. [L quartus fourth]
quartile adj. & n. --adj. Astrol. relating to the aspect of two
celestial bodies 90ш apart. --n. 1 a quartile aspect. 2
Statistics one of three values of a variable dividing a
population into four equal groups as regards the value of that
variable. [med.L quartilis f. L quartus fourth]
quarto n. (pl. -os) Printing 1 the size given by folding a (usu.
specified) sheet of paper twice. 2 a book consisting of sheets
folded in this way. °Abbr.: 4to. Ьquarto paper paper folded in
this way and cut into sheets. [L (in) quarto (in) the fourth
(of a sheet), ablat. of quartus fourth]
quartz n. a mineral form of silica that crystallizes as hexagonal
prisms. Ьquartz clock a clock operated by vibrations of an
electrically driven quartz crystal. quartz lamp a quartz tube
containing mercury vapour and used as a light source. [G Quarz
f. WSlav. kwardy]
quartzite n. a metamorphic rock consisting mainly of quartz.
quasar n. Astron. any of a class of starlike celestial objects having
a spectrum with a large red-shift. [quasi-stellar]
quash v.tr. 1 annul; reject as not valid, esp. by a legal procedure.
2 suppress; crush (a rebellion etc.). [ME f. OF quasser, casser
annul f. LL cassare f. cassus null, void or f. L cassare
frequent. of quatere shake]
quasi adv. (introducing an exclamation) that is to say; as it were.
[L, = as if, almost]
quasi- comb. form 1 seemingly; apparently but not really
(quasi-scientific). 2 being partly or almost
(quasi-independent). [L quasi as if, almost]
quassia n. 1 an evergreen tree, Quassia amara, native to S. America. 2
the wood, bark, or root of this tree, yielding a bitter
medicinal tonic and insecticide. [G. Quassi, 18th-c. Surinam
slave, who discovered its medicinal properties]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a four-hundredth anniversary. 2
a festival marking this. --adj. of this anniversary. [L quater
four times + CENTENARY]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 having four parts. 2 (Quaternary) Geol. of
or relating to the most recent period in the Cenozoic era with
evidence of many species of present-day plants and animals (cf.
PLEISTOCENE, HOLOCENE). °Cf. Appendix II. --n. (pl. -ies) 1
a set of four things. 2 (Quaternary) Geol. the Quaternary
period or system. [ME f. L quaternarius f. quaterni distrib. of
n. 1 a set of four. 2 Math. a complex number of the form w +
xi + yj + zk, where w, x, y, z are real numbers and i, j, k are
imaginary units that satisfy certain conditions. [ME f. LL
quaternio -onis (as QUATERNARY)]
n. any fourteen-line poem; an irregular sonnet. [F quatorzaine
f. quatorze fourteen f. L quattuordecim]
quatorze n. a set of four aces, kings, queens, or jacks, in one hand at
piquet, scoring fourteen. [F: see QUATORZAIN]
quatrain n. a stanza of four lines, usu. with alternate rhymes. [F f.
quatre four f. L quattuor]
n. a four-pointed or four-leafed figure, esp. as an ornament in
architectural tracery, resembling a flower or clover leaf. [ME
f. AF f. quatre four: see FOIL(2)]
n. the style of Italian art of the 15th c. ЬЬquattrocentist n.
[It., = 400 used with reference to the years 1400-99]
quaver v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a (esp. of a voice or musical sound)
vibrate, shake, tremble. b use trills or shakes in singing. 2
tr. a sing (a note or song) with quavering. b (often foll. by
out) say in a trembling voice. --n. 1 Mus. a note having the
time value of an eighth of a semibreve or half a crotchet and
represented by a large dot with a hooked stem. Also called
eighth note. 2 a trill in singing. 3 a tremble in speech.
ЬЬquaveringly adv. [ME f. quave, perh. f. OE cwafian
(unrecorded: cf. cwacian QUAKE)]
quavery adj. (of a voice etc.) tremulous. ЬЬquaveriness n.
quay n. a solid stationary artificial landing-place lying alongside
or projecting into water for loading and unloading ships.
ЬЬquayage n. [ME key(e), kay f. OF kay f. Gaulish caio f.
quayside n. the land forming or near a quay.
Que. abbr. Quebec.
quean n. archaic an impudent or ill-behaved girl or woman. [OE cwene
woman: cf. QUEEN]
queasy adj. (-ier, -iest) 1 a (of a person) feeling nausea. b (of a
person's stomach) easily upset, weak of digestion. 2 (of the
conscience etc.) overscrupulous, tender. ЬЬqueasily adv.
queasiness n. [ME queysy, coisy perh. f. AF & OF, rel. to OF
Quechua n. (also Quichua) a S. American Indian language widely spoken
in Peru and neighbouring countries. ЬЬQuechuan adj. [Sp. f.
queen n. & v. --n. 1 (as a title usu. Queen) a female sovereign
etc., esp. the hereditary ruler of an independent State. 2 (in
full queen consort) a king's wife. 3 a woman, country, or thing
pre-eminent or supreme in a specified area or of its kind
(tennis queen; the queen of roses). 4 the fertile female among
ants, bees, etc. 5 the most powerful piece in chess. 6 a court
card with a picture of a queen. 7 sl. a male homosexual, esp.
an effeminate one. 8 a an honoured female, e.g. the Virgin Mary
(Queen of Heaven). b an ancient goddess (Venus, Queen of love).
9 a belle or mock sovereign on some occasion (beauty queen;
queen of the May). 10 a person's sweetheart, wife, or mistress.
11 (the Queen) (in the UK) the national anthem when there is a
female sovereign. --v.tr. 1 make (a woman) queen. 2 Chess
convert (a pawn) into a queen when it reaches the opponent's
side of the board. ЬQueen-Anne in the style of English
architecture, furniture, etc., in or about Queen Anne's time,
the early 18th c. Queen Anne's lace cow-parsley. queen bee 1
the fertile female in a hive. 2 the chief or controlling woman
in an organization or social group. queen-cake a small soft
cake often with raisins etc. queen dowager the widow of a king.
queen it play the queen. queen mother the dowager who is mother
of the sovereign. queen of the meadows meadowsweet. queen of
puddings a pudding made with bread, jam, and meringue.
queen-post one of two upright timbers between the tie-beam and
principal rafters of a roof-truss. Queen's bench see BENCH.
queen's bishop, knight , etc. Chess (of pieces which exist in
pairs) the piece starting on the queen's side of the board.
Queen's bounty see BOUNTY. Queen's colour see COLOUR. Queen's
Counsel see COUNSEL. the Queen's English see ENGLISH. Queen's
evidence see EVIDENCE. Queen's Guide see GUIDE. Queen's
highway see HIGHWAY. queen-size (or -sized) of an extra-large
size, usu. smaller than king-size. Queen's Messenger see
MESSENGER. queen's pawn Chess the pawn in front of the queen at
the beginning of a game. Queen's Proctor see PROCTOR. Queen's
Scout see SCOUT(1). Queen's speech see SPEECH. queen's-ware
cream-coloured Wedgwood. ЬЬqueendom n. queenhood n. queenless
adj. queenlike adj. queenship n. [OE cwen f. Gmc; cf. QUEAN]
queenie n. sl. = QUEEN n. 7.
queenly adj. (queenlier, queenliest) 1 fit for or appropriate to a
queen. 2 majestic; queenlike. ЬЬqueenliness n.
n.pl. the standard rules, esp. of boxing. [the 8th Marquis of
Queensberry, Engl. nobleman d. 1900, who supervised the
preparation of boxing laws in 1867]
queer adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 strange; odd; eccentric. 2 shady;
suspect; of questionable character. 3 a slightly ill; giddy;
faint. b Brit. sl. drunk. 4 derog. sl. (esp. of a man)
homosexual. --n. derog. sl. a homosexual. --v.tr. sl.
spoil; put out of order. Ьin Queer Street sl. in a difficulty,
in debt or trouble or disrepute. queer a person's pitch spoil a
person's chances, esp. secretly or maliciously. ЬЬqueerish adj.
queerly adv. queerness n. [perh. f. G quer oblique (as
quell v.tr. 1 a crush or put down (a rebellion etc.). b reduce
(rebels etc.) to submission. 2 suppress (fear, anger, etc.).
ЬЬqueller n. (also in comb.). [OE cwellan kill f. Gmc]
quench v.tr. 1 satisfy (thirst) by drinking. 2 extinguish (a fire or
light etc.). 3 cool, esp. with water (heat, a heated thing). 4
esp. Metallurgy cool (a hot substance) in cold water, air, oil,
etc. 5 a stifle or suppress (desire etc.). b Physics &
Electronics inhibit or prevent (oscillation, luminescence, etc.)
by counteractive means. 6 sl. reduce (an opponent) to silence.
ЬЬquenchable adj. quencher n. quenchless adj. [ME f. OE
-cwencan causative f. -cwincan be extinguished]
quenelle n. a seasoned ball or roll of pounded fish or meat. [F, of
querist n. literary a person who asks questions; a questioner. [L
quern n. 1 a hand-mill for grinding corn. 2 a small hand-mill for
pepper etc. Ьquern-stone a millstone. [OE cweorn(e) f. Gmc]
querulous adj. complaining, peevish. ЬЬquerulously adj. querulousness
n. [LL querulosus or L querulus f. queri complain]
query n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a question, esp. expressing doubt
or objection. 2 a question mark, or the word query spoken or
written to question accuracy or as a mark of interrogation.
--v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. (often foll. by whether, if, etc. +
clause) ask or inquire. 2 tr. call (a thing) in question in
speech or writing. 3 tr. dispute the accuracy of. 4 intr. put
a question. [Anglicized form of quaere f. L quaerere ask, after
quest n. & v. --n. 1 a search or the act of seeking. 2 the thing
sought, esp. the object of a medieval knight's pursuit. --v. 1
intr. (often foll. by about) a (often foll. by for) go about in
search of something. b (of a dog etc.) search about for game.
2 tr. poet. search for, seek out. Ьin quest of seeking.
ЬЬquester n. questingly adv. [ME f. OF queste, quester ult. f.
L quaerere quaest- seek]
question n. & v. --n. 1 a sentence worded or expressed so as to seek
information. 2 a doubt about or objection to a thing's truth,
credibility, advisability, etc. (allowed it without question).
b the raising of such doubt etc. 3 a matter to be discussed or
decided or voted on. 4 a problem requiring an answer or
solution. 5 (foll. by of) a matter or concern depending on
conditions (it's a question of money). --v.tr. 1 ask questions
of; interrogate. 2 subject (a person) to examination. 3 throw
doubt upon; raise objections to. 4 seek information from the
study of (phenomena, facts). Ьbe a question of time be certain
to happen sooner or later. beyond all question undoubtedly.
come into question be discussed; become of practical importance.
in question that is being discussed or referred to (the person
in question). is not the question is irrelevant. out of the
question too impracticable etc. to be worth discussing;
impossible. put the question require supporters and opponents
of a proposal to record their votes, divide a meeting. question
mark a punctuation mark (?) indicating a question.
question-master Brit. a person who presides over a quiz game
etc. question time Parl. a period during parliamentary
proceedings when MPs may question ministers. ЬЬquestioner n.
questioningly adv. questionless adj. [ME f. AF questiun, OF
question, questionner f. L quaestio -onis f. quaerere quaest-
adj. 1 doubtful as regards truth or quality. 2 not clearly in
accordance with honesty, honour, wisdom, etc. ЬЬquestionability
n. questionableness n. questionably adv.
n. (pl. -ies) = QUESTIONNAIRE. [med.L quaestionarium or F (as
n. 1 a formulated series of questions, esp. for statistical
study. 2 a document containing these. [F f. questionner
QUESTION + -aire -ARY(1)]
quetzal n. 1 any of various brilliantly coloured birds of the family
Trogonidae, esp. the Central and S. American Pharomachrus
mocinno, the male of which has long green tail coverts. 2 the
chief monetary unit of Guatemala. [Sp. f. Aztec f. quetzalli
the bird's tail-feather]
queue n. & v. esp. Brit. --n. 1 a line or sequence of persons,
vehicles, etc., awaiting their turn to be attended to or to
proceed. 2 a pigtail or plait of hair. --v.intr. (queues,
queued, queuing or queueing) (often foll. by up) (of persons
etc.) form a queue; take one's place in a queue. Ьqueue-jump
Brit. push forward out of turn in a queue. [F f. L cauda tail]
quibble n. & v. --n. 1 a petty objection; a trivial point of
criticism. 2 a play on words; a pun. 3 an evasion; an
insubstantial argument which relies on an ambiguity etc.
--v.intr. use quibbles. ЬЬquibbler n. quibbling adj.
quibblingly adv. [dimin. of obs. quib prob. f. L quibus dative
& ablat. pl. of qui who (familiar from use in legal documents)]
quiche n. an open flan or tart with a savoury filling. [F]
Quichua var. of QUECHUA.
quick adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 taking only a short time (a quick
worker). 2 arriving after a short time, prompt (quick action;
quick results). 3 with only a short interval (in quick
succession). 4 lively, intelligent. 5 acute, alert (has a
quick ear). 6 (of a temper) easily roused. 7 archaic living,
alive (the quick and the dead). --adv. 1 quickly, at a rapid
rate. 2 (as int.) come, go, etc., quickly. --n. 1 the soft
flesh below the nails, or the skin, or a sore. 2 the seat of
feeling or emotion (cut to the quick). Ьbe quick act quickly.
quick-fire 1 (of repartee etc.) rapid. 2 firing shots in quick
succession. quick-freeze 1 freeze (food) rapidly so as to
preserve its natural qualities. 2 this process. quick march
Mil. 1 a march in quick time. 2 the command to begin this.
quick one colloq. a drink taken quickly. quick step Mil. a
step used in quick time (cf. QUICKSTEP). quick time Mil.
marching at about 120 paces per minute. quick trick Bridge 1 a
trick in the first two rounds of a suit. 2 the card that should
win this. quick with child archaic at a stage of pregnancy when
movements of the foetus have been felt. ЬЬquickly adv.
quickness n. [OE cwic(u) alive f. Gmc]
quicken v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become quicker; accelerate. 2 tr.
give life or vigour to; rouse; animate; stimulate. 3 intr. a
(of a woman) reach a stage in pregnancy when movements of the
foetus can be felt. b (of a foetus) begin to show signs of
life. 4 tr. archaic kindle; make (a fire) burn brighter. 5
intr. come to life.
quickie n. colloq. 1 a thing done or made quickly or hastily. 2 a
drink taken quickly.
quicklime n. = LIME(1) n. 1.
quicksand n. 1 loose wet sand that sucks in anything placed or falling
into it. 2 a bed of this.
quickset adj. & n. --adj. (of a hedge) formed of slips of plants, esp.
hawthorn set in the ground to grow. --n. 1 such slips. 2 a
hedge formed in this way.
n. & v. --n. 1 mercury. 2 mobility of temperament or mood.
--v.tr. coat (a mirror-glass) with an amalgam of tin.
quickstep n. & v. --n. a fast foxtrot (cf. quick step). --v.intr.
(-stepped, -stepping) dance the quickstep.
n. a common hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna.
adj. quick to grasp a situation, make repartee, etc.
quid(1) n. (pl. same) Brit. sl. one pound sterling. Ьnot the full
quid Austral. sl. mentally deficient. quids in sl. in a
position of profit. [prob. f. quid the nature of a thing f. L
quid what, something]
quid(2) n. a lump of tobacco for chewing. [dial. var. of CUD]
quiddity n. (pl. -ies) 1 Philos. the essence of a person or thing; what
makes a thing what it is. 2 a quibble; a trivial objection.
[med.L quidditas f. L quid what]
quidnunc n. archaic a newsmonger, a person given to gossip. [L quid
what + nunc now]
quid pro quo
n. 1 a thing given as compensation. 2 return made (for a gift,
favour, etc.). [L, = something for something]
quiescent adj. 1 motionless, inert. 2 silent, dormant. ЬЬquiescence n.
quiescency n. quiescently adv. [L quiescere f. quies QUIET]
quiet adj., n., & v. --adj. (quieter, quietest) 1 with little or no
sound or motion. 2 of gentle or peaceful disposition. 3 (of a
colour, piece of clothing, etc.) unobtrusive; not showy. 4 not
overt; private; disguised (quiet resentment). 5 undisturbed;
uninterrupted; free or far from vigorous action (a quiet time
for prayer). 6 informal; simple (just a quiet wedding). 7
enjoyed in quiet (a quiet smoke). 8 tranquil; not anxious or
remorseful. --n. 1 silence; stillness. 2 an undisturbed
state; tranquillity. 3 a state of being free from urgent tasks
or agitation (it is very quiet at work). 4 a peaceful state of
affairs (all quiet along the frontier). --v. 1 tr. sooth, make
quiet. 2 intr. (often foll. by down) become quiet or calm. Ьbe
quiet (esp. in imper.) cease talking etc. keep quiet 1 refrain
from making a noise. 2 (often foll. by about) suppress or
refrain from disclosing information etc. on the quiet
unobtrusively; secretly. ЬЬquietly adv. quietness n. [ME f.
AF quiete f. OF quiet(e), quiet‚ f. L quietus past part. of
quiescere: see QUIESCENT]
quieten v.tr. & intr. Brit. (often foll. by down) = QUIET v.
quietism n. 1 a passive attitude towards life, with devotional
contemplation and abandonment of the will, as a form of
religious mysticism. 2 the principle of non-resistance.
ЬЬquietist n. & adj. quietistic adj. [It. quietismo (as
quietude n. a state of quiet.
quietus n. 1 something which quiets or represses. 2 discharge or
release from life; death, final riddance. [med.L quietus est he
is quit (QUIET) used as a form of receipt]
quiff n. Brit. 1 a man's tuft of hair, brushed upward over the
forehead. 2 a curl plastered down on the forehead. [20th c.:
quill n. & v. --n. 1 (in full quill-feather) a large feather in a
wing or tail. 2 the hollow stem of this. 3 (in full quill pen)
a pen made of a quill. 4 (usu. in pl.) the spines of a
porcupine. 5 a musical pipe made of a hollow stem. --v.tr.
form into cylindrical quill-like folds; goffer. Ьquill-coverts
the feathers covering the base of quill-feathers. ЬЬquilling n.
[ME prob. f. (M)LG quiele]
quilt(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a bed-covering made of padding enclosed between
layers of cloth etc. and kept in place by cross lines of
stitching. 2 a bedspread of similar design (patchwork quilt).
--v.tr. 1 cover or line with padded material. 2 make or join
together (pieces of cloth with padding between) after the manner
of a quilt. 3 sew up (a coin, letter, etc.) between two layers
of a garment etc. 4 compile (a literary work) out of extracts
or borrowed ideas. ЬЬquilter n. quilting n. [ME f. OF coilte,
cuilte f. L culcita mattress, cushion]
quilt(2) v.tr. Austral. sl. thrash; clout. [perh. f. QUILT(1)]
quim n. coarse sl. the female genitals. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
quin n. esp. Brit. colloq. a quintuplet. [abbr.]
n. an anti-malarial drug derived from acridine. [quinine +
quinary adj. 1 of the number five. 2 having five parts. [L quinarius
f. quini distrib. of quinque five]
quinate adj. Bot. (of a leaf) having five leaflets. [L quini (as
quince n. 1 a hard acid pear-shaped fruit used as a preserve or
flavouring. 2 any shrub or small tree of the genus Cydonia,
esp. C. oblonga, bearing this fruit. [ME, orig. collect. pl.
of obs. quoyn, coyn, f. OF cooin f. L cotoneum var. of cydoneum
(apple) of Cydonia in Crete]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a five-hundredth anniversary. 2
a festival marking this. --adj. of this anniversary.
ЬЬquincentennial adj. & n. [irreg. f. L quinque five +
quincunx n. 1 five objects set so that four are at the corners of a
square or rectangle and the fifth is at its centre, e.g. the
five on dice or cards. 2 this arrangement, esp. in planting
trees. ЬЬquincuncial adj. quincuncially adv. [L, =
five-twelfths f. quinque five, uncia twelfth]
quinella n. a form of betting in which the better must select the first
two place-winners in a race, not necessarily in the correct
order. [Amer. Sp. quiniela]
quinine n. 1 an alkaloid found esp. in cinchona bark. 2 a bitter drug
containing this, used as a tonic and to reduce fever. [quina
cinchona bark f. Sp. quina f. Quecha kina bark]
quinol n. = HYDROQUINONE.
quinoline n. Chem. an oily amine obtained from the distillation of coal
tar or by synthesis and used in the preparation of drugs etc.
quinone n. Chem. 1 a yellow crystalline derivative of benzene with the
hydrogen atoms on opposite carbon atoms replaced by two of
oxygen. 2 any in a class of similar compounds.
n. & adj. --n. a person from 50 to 59 years old. --adj. of or
relating to this age. [L quinquagenarius f. quinquageni
distrib. of quinquaginta fifty]
n. (in full Quinquagesima Sunday) the Sunday before the
beginning of Lent. [med.L, fem. of L quinquagesimus fiftieth f.
quinquaginta fifty, after QUADRAGESIMA]
quinque- comb. form five. [L f. quinque five]
adj. 1 lasting five years. 2 recurring every five years.
ЬЬquinquennially adv. [L quinquennis (as QUINQUENNIUM)]
n. (pl. quinquenniums or quinquennia) a period of five years.
[L f. quinque five + annus year]
n. an ancient Roman galley with five files of oarsmen on each
side. [L quinqueremis (as QUINQUE-, remus oar)]
adj. having a valency of five.
quinsy n. an inflammation of the throat, esp. an abscess in the region
around the tonsils. ЬЬquinsied adj. [ME f. OF quinencie f.
med.L quinancia f. Gk kunagkhe f. kun- dog + agkho throttle]
quint n. 1 a sequence of five cards in the same suit in piquet etc.
2 US a quintuplet. Ьquint major a quint headed by an ace. [F
quinte f. L quinta fem. of quintus fifth f. quinque five]
quintain n. hist. 1 a post set up as a mark in tilting, and often
provided with a sandbag to swing round and strike an
unsuccessful tilter. 2 the medieval military exercise of
tilting at such a mark. [ME f. OF quintaine perh. ult. f. L
quintana camp market f. quintus (manipulus) fifth (maniple)]
quintal n. 1 a weight of about 100 lb. 2 a hundredweight (112 lb.). 3
a weight of 100 kg. [ME f. OF quintal, med.L quintale f. Arab.
quintan adj. (of a fever etc.) recurring every fifth day. [L quintana
f. quintus fifth]
quinte n. the fifth of eight parrying positions in fencing. [F: see
n. 1 the most essential part of any substance; a refined
extract. 2 (usu. foll. by of) the purest and most perfect, or
most typical, form, manifestation, or embodiment of some quality
or class. 3 (in Ancient Philosophy) a fifth substance (beside
the four elements) forming heavenly bodies and pervading all
things. ЬЬquintessential adj. quintessentially adv. [ME (in
sense 3) f. F f. med.L quinta essentia fifth ESSENCE]
quintet n. (also quintette) 1 Mus. a a composition for five voices or
instruments. b the performers of such a piece. 2 any group of
five. [F quintette f. It. quintetto f. quinto fifth f. L
n. (pl. same or quintillions) a thousand raised to the sixth
(or formerly, esp. Brit., the tenth) power (10(18) and 10(30)
respectively). ЬЬquintillionth adj. & n. [L quintus fifth +
quintuple adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 fivefold; consisting of five parts. 2
involving five parties. 3 (of time in music) having five beats
in a bar. --n. a fivefold number or amount. --v.tr. & intr.
multiply by five; increase fivefold. ЬЬquintuply adv. [F
quintuple f. L quintus fifth, after QUADRUPLE]
n. 1 each of five children born at one birth. 2 a set of five
things working together. 3 Mus. a group of five notes to be
performed in the time of three or four. [QUINTUPLE, after
adj. & v. --adj. 1 fivefold. 2 of which five copies are made.
--v.tr. & intr. multiply by five. Ьin quintuplicate 1 in five
identical copies. 2 in groups of five. [F quintuple f. L
quintus fifth, after QUADRUPLICATE]
quip n. & v. --n. 1 a clever saying; an epigram; a sarcastic remark
etc. 2 a quibble; an equivocation. --v.intr. (quipped,
quipping) make quips. ЬЬquipster n. [abbr. of obs. quippy
perh. f. L quippe forsooth]
quipu n. the ancient Peruvians' substitute for writing by variously
knotting threads of various colours. [Quechua, = knot]
quire n. 1 four sheets of paper etc. folded to form eight leaves, as
often in medieval manuscripts. 2 any collection of leaves one
within another in a manuscript or book. 3 25 (also 24) sheets
of paper. Ьin quires unbound; in sheets. [ME f. OF qua(i)er
ult. f. L quaterni set of four (as QUATERNARY)]
quirk n. 1 a peculiarity of behaviour. 2 a trick of fate; a freak.
3 a flourish in writing. 4 (often attrib.) Archit. a hollow in
a moulding. ЬЬquirkish adj. quirky adj. (quirkier,
quirkiest). quirkily adv. quirkiness n. [16th c.: orig.
quirt n. & v. --n. a short-handled riding-whip with a braided leather
lash. --v.tr. strike with this. [Sp. cuerda CORD]
quisling n. 1 a person cooperating with an occupying enemy; a
collaborator or fifth-columnist. 2 a traitor. ЬЬquislingite
adj. & n. [V. Quisling, renegade Norwegian Army officer d.
quit v. & adj. --v.tr. (quitting; past and past part. quitted or
quit) 1 (also absol.) give up; let go; abandon (a task etc.). 2
US cease; stop (quit grumbling). 3 a leave or depart from (a
place, person, etc.). b (absol.) (of a tenant) leave occupied
premises ( esp. notice to quit). 4 (refl.) acquit; behave (
quit oneself well). --predic.adj. (foll. by of) rid (glad to be
quit of the problem). Ьquit hold of loose. [ME f. OF quitte,
quitter f. med.L quittus f. L quietus QUIET]
quitch n. (in full quitch-grass) = COUCH(2). [OE cwice, perh. rel. to
quite adv. 1 completely; entirely; wholly; to the utmost extent; in
the fullest sense. 2 somewhat; rather; to some extent. 3
(often foll. by so) said to indicate agreement. Ьquite another
(or other) very different (that's quite another matter). quite
a few colloq. a fairly large number of. quite something a
remarkable thing. [ME f. obs. quite (adj.) = QUIT]
quits predic.adj. on even terms by retaliation or repayment (then
we'll be quits). Ьcall it (or cry) quits acknowledge that
things are now even; agree not to proceed further in a quarrel
etc. [perh. colloq. abbr. of med.L quittus: see QUIT]
quittance n. archaic or poet. 1 (foll. by from) a release. 2 an
acknowledgement of payment; a receipt. [ME f. OF quitance f.
quitter n. 1 a person who gives up easily. 2 a shirker.
quiver(1) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. tremble or vibrate with a slight rapid
motion, esp.: a (usu. foll. by with) as the result of emotion
(quiver with anger). b (usu. foll. by in) as the result of air
currents etc. (quiver in the breeze). 2 tr. (of a bird, esp. a
skylark) make (its wings) quiver. --n. a quivering motion or
sound. ЬЬquiveringly adv. quivery adj. [ME f. obs. quiver
nimble: cf. QUAVER]
quiver(2) n. a case for holding arrows. Ьhave an arrow (or shaft) left
in one's quiver not be resourceless. [ME f. OF quivre f. WG
(cf. OE cocor)]
quiverful n. (pl. -fuls) 1 as much as a quiver can hold. 2 many
children of one parent (Ps. 127:5). [QUIVER(2)]
qui vive n. Ьon the qui vive on the alert; watching for something to
happen. [F, = lit. '(long) live who?', i.e. on whose side are
you?, as a sentry's challenge]
quixotic adj. 1 extravagantly and romantically chivalrous; regardless of
material interests in comparison with honour or devotion. 2
visionary; pursuing lofty but unattainable ideals.
ЬЬquixotically adv. quixotism n. quixotry n. [Don Quixote,
hero of Cervantes' romance f. Sp. quixote thigh armour]
quiz(1) n. & v. --n. (pl. quizzes) 1 a test of knowledge, esp.
between individuals or teams as a form of entertainment. 2 an
interrogation, examination, or questionnaire. --v.tr.
(quizzed, quizzing) examine by questioning. Ьquiz-master a
person who presides over a quiz. [19th-c. dial.: orig. unkn.]
quiz(2) v. & n. archaic --v.tr. (quizzed, quizzing) 1 look curiously
at; observe the ways or oddities of; survey through an eyeglass.
2 make sport of; regard with a mocking air. --n. (pl.
quizzes) 1 a hoax, a thing done to burlesque or expose another's
oddities. 2 a an odd or eccentric person; a person of
ridiculous appearance. b a person given to quizzing. ЬЬquizzer
n. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
quizzical adj. 1 expressing or done with mild or amused perplexity. 2
strange; comical. ЬЬquizzicality n. quizzically adv.
quod n. Brit. sl. prison. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
quod erat demonstrandum
(esp. at the conclusion of a proof etc.) which was the thing to
be proved. °Abbr.: QED. [L]
quodlibet n. 1 hist. a a topic for philosophical or theological
discussion. b an exercise on this. 2 a light-hearted medley of
well-known tunes. ЬЬquodlibetarian n. quodlibetical adj.
quodlibetically adv. [ME f. L f. quod what + libet it pleases
quod vide which see (in cross-references etc.). °Abbr.: q.v. [L]
quoin n. & v. --n. 1 an external angle of a building. 2 a stone or
brick forming an angle; a cornerstone. 3 a wedge used for
locking type in a forme. 4 a wedge for raising the level of a
gun, keeping the barrel from rolling, etc. --v.tr. secure or
raise with quoins. ЬЬquoining n. [var. of COIN]
quoit n. & v. --n. 1 a heavy flattish sharp-edged iron ring thrown
to encircle an iron peg or to land as near as possible to the
peg. 2 (in pl.) a game consisting of aiming and throwing these.
3 a ring of rope, rubber, etc. for use in a similar game. 4 a
the flat stone of a dolmen. b the dolmen itself. --v.tr. fling
like a quoit. [ME: orig. unkn.]
quokka n. a small Australian short-tailed wallaby, Setonix brachyurus.
quondam predic.adj. that once was; sometime; former. [L (adv.), =
Quonset n. US propr. a prefabricated metal building with a
semicylindrical corrugated roof. [Quonset Point, Rhode Island,
where it was first made]
quorate adj. Brit. (of a meeting) attended by a quorum. [QUORUM]
quorum n. the fixed minimum number of members that must be present to
make the proceedings of an assembly or society valid. [L, = of
whom (we wish that you be two, three, etc.), in the wording of
quota n. 1 the share that an individual person or company is bound to
contribute to or entitled to receive from a total. 2 a quantity
of goods etc. which under official controls must be
manufactured, exported, imported, etc. 3 the number of yearly
immigrants allowed to enter a country, students allowed to enrol
for a course, etc. [med.L quota (pars) how great (a part), fem.
of quotus f. quot how many]
quotable adj. worth, or suitable for, quoting. ЬЬquotability n.
quotation n. 1 the act or an instance of quoting or being quoted. 2 a
passage or remark quoted. 3 Mus. a short passage or tune taken
from one piece of music to another. 4 Stock Exch. an amount
stated as the current price of stocks or commodities. 5 a
contractor's estimate. Ьquotation mark each of a set of
punctuation marks, single (' ') or double (" "), used to mark
the beginning and end of a quoted passage, a book title, etc.,
or words regarded as slang or jargon. [med.L quotatio (as
quote v. & n. --v.tr. 1 cite or appeal to (an author, book, etc.) in
confirmation of some view. 2 repeat a statement by (another
person) or copy out a passage from (don't quote me). 3 (often
absol.) a repeat or copy out (a passage) usu. with an indication
that it is borrowed. b (foll. by from) cite (an author, book,
etc.). 4 (foll. by as) cite (an author etc.) as proof,
evidence, etc. 5 a enclose (words) in quotation marks. b (as
int.) (in dictation, reading aloud, etc.) indicate the presence
of opening quotation marks (he said, quote, 'I shall stay'). 6
(often foll. by at) state the price of (a commodity, bet, etc.)
(quoted at 200 to 1). 7 Stock Exch. regularly list the price
of. --n. colloq. 1 a passage quoted. 2 a price quoted. 3
(usu. in pl.) quotation marks. [ME, earlier 'mark with
numbers', f. med.L quotare f. quot how many, or as QUOTA]
quoth v.tr. (only in 1st and 3rd person) archaic said. [OE cw‘th
past of cwethan say f. Gmc]
quotidian adj. & n. --adj. 1 daily, of every day. 2 commonplace,
trivial. --n. (in full quotidian fever) a fever recurring every
day. [ME f. OF cotidien & L cotidianus f. cotidie daily]
quotient n. a result obtained by dividing one quantity by another. [ME
f. L quotiens how many times f. quot how many, by confusion