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quad·​rate ˈkwä-ˌdrāt How to pronounce quadrate (audio) -drət How to pronounce quadrate (audio)
: being square or approximately square
of a heraldic cross : expanded into a square at the junction of the arms see cross illustration
: 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


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

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near quadrate

Cite this Entry

“Quadrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadrate. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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