qua·​driv·​i·​um kwä-ˈdri-vē-əm How to pronounce quadrivium (audio)
: a group of studies consisting of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy and forming the upper division of the seven liberal arts in medieval universities compare trivium

Examples of quadrivium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From the codified curricula of the trivium and quadrivium to the rigors of philosophy and philosophical expression to Beethoven, Dave Brubeck, and Miles Davis to the rule of law, democracy, the city, abolitionism, and property rights, the legacy of the classical world never ceases to amaze. Andre M. Archie, National Review, 27 Feb. 2021 The first universities could be thought of as schools for polymaths, bringing together students and teachers dedicated to a broad education in the liberal arts (including the trivium—grammar, logic and rhetoric—and the quadrivium—geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and music). Robert Wilson, WSJ, 6 Nov. 2020 Herschel believed that music belonged as one of the four liberal arts of the quadrivium, alongside arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. New York Times, 27 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quadrivium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin, from Latin, crossroads, from quadri- + via way — more at way

First Known Use

1804, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quadrivium was in 1804

Dictionary Entries Near quadrivium

Cite this Entry

“Quadrivium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadrivium. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on quadrivium

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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