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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for quadrate

Synonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about quadrate

Time Traveler for quadrate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about quadrate

Statistics for quadrate

Cite this Entry

“Quadrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadrate. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on quadrate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quadrate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quadrate

Comments on quadrate

What made you want to look up quadrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!