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Sun., Dec. 16, 2012, 4:40 a.m.

A Word A Day — quadrate

Good morning, Netizens...

December 16, 2012

Word of the Day

  • quadrate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KWAH-drayt\


: being square or approximately square

The linoleum featured a colorful pattern of large quadrate shapes.

"For dessert, Namiri brings out quadrate slices of baklava accompanied by strong Turkish coffee." — From a review by Christy Khoshaba in the Monterey County Weekly, May 26, 2011


Sharp-eyed readers may recognize the "quad" in "quadrate," suggesting the number four. "Quadrate" is in fact a relative of Latin "quattuor," meaning "four," though its direct line of descent links to "quadrum," meaning "square." Other descendants of "quadrum" in English include "quadrille" (a square dance for four couples), "quarrel" (a square-headed bolt or arrow), and "quarry" (a place where large amounts of stone are dug out of the ground); the latter of these can be traced back to a Latin word meaning "squared stone." "Quadrate," incidentally, can also be used in much more specific senses to describe a type of heraldic cross or a portion of the skull in some vertebrates.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.