quad·​rate | \ ˈkwä-ˌdrāt How to pronounce quadrate (audio) , -drət How to pronounce quadrate (audio) \

Definition of quadrate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being square or approximately square
2 of a heraldic cross : expanded into a square at the junction of the arms — see cross illustration
3 : of, relating to, or constituting a bony or cartilaginous element of each side of the skull to which the lower jaw is articulated in most vertebrates below mammals



Definition of quadrate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an approximately square or cubical area, space, or body
2 : a quadrate bone

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Synonyms for quadrate

Synonyms: Adjective

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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.

Examples of quadrate in a Sentence

Adjective the four museum buildings surround a quadrate courtyard that is formally landscaped

First Known Use of quadrate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quadrate


Middle English, from Latin quadratus, past participle of quadrare to make square, fit, from quadrum square; akin to Latin quattuor four

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The first known use of quadrate was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Quadrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadrate. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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