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, "The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature," 20 July 2018 Like the quaternions, octonion multiplication is not commutative. Quanta Magazine, "The (Imaginary) Numbers at the Edge of Reality," 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, "The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature," 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for quaternion

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

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Cite this Entry

“Quaternion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaternion. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quaternion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quaternion

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