qua·​ter·​ni·​on | \ kwə-ˈtər-nē-ən , kwä-\

Definition of quaternion

1 : a set of four parts, things, or persons
2 : any of a set of numbers that comprise a four-dimensional vector space with a basis consisting of the real number 1 and three imaginary units i, j, k, that follow special rules of multiplication, and that are used especially in computer graphics, robotics, and animation to rotate objects in three dimensions

First Known Use of quaternion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quaternion

Middle English quaternyoun, from Late Latin quaternion-, quaternio, from Latin quaterni four each, from quater four times; akin to Latin quattuor four — more at four

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about quaternion

Share quaternion

Statistics for quaternion

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quaternion

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on quaternion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quaternion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quaternion

Comments on quaternion

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


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!