quaternion

noun
qua·​ter·​ni·​on | \ kwə-ˈtər-nē-ən How to pronounce quaternion (audio) , 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

Examples of quaternion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web John Graves, a lawyer friend of Hamilton’s, subsequently showed that pairs of quaternions make octonions: numbers that define coordinates in an abstract 8-D space. Quanta Magazine, 20 July 2018 Like the quaternions, octonion multiplication is not commutative. Quanta Magazine, 25 Oct. 2018 Proof surfaced in 1898 that the reals, complex numbers, quaternions and octonions are the only kinds of numbers that can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided. Quanta Magazine, 20 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quaternion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

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

Time Traveler for quaternion

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near quaternion

quaternate

quaternion

quaternity

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for quaternion

Cite this Entry

“Quaternion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaternion. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on quaternion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quaternion

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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