te·​tral·​o·​gy | \ te-ˈträ-lə-jē How to pronounce tetralogy (audio) , -ˈtra- How to pronounce tetralogy (audio) \
plural tetralogies

Definition of tetralogy

1 : a series of four connected works (such as operas or novels)
2 : a group of four dramatic pieces presented consecutively on the Attic stage at the Dionysiac festival

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Did You Know?

The original tetralogies were sets of four plays (three tragedies and a comedy) performed serially on the Athenian stages of ancient Greece. These sets of plays were similar to the "trilogy," a group of three serial Greek tragedies. The word tetralogy is from the Greek combining form tetra-, meaning "four," joined with the combining form "-logia," which in turn comes from logos, meaning "word." Other "tetra-" words include "tetrahedron" (a solid shape formed by four flat faces) and "tetrapod" (a vertebrate with two pairs of limbs).

Examples of tetralogy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's 'virtual' shows this week: 'Art & Music' with the Louisville Orchestra & more," 15 June 2019 The Rolling Stones unleashed rock’s ultimate tetralogy. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "10 great ‘bad’ albums by legendary rock bands," 8 May 2020 There’s something uncanny about a group of bookish women using Ferrante’s tetralogy—which follows the lives of Lila and Lenù, two friends growing up in Naples during the nineteen-fifties—to impel a collective inquiry. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "A New Book on Elena Ferrante Rethinks What Criticism Can Be," 6 Feb. 2020 An earlier tetralogy of Luting plays were, according to their author, Wong Kwok Kiu, an attempt to grapple with Hong Kong’s past not as faithful textbook history but as a meditation on the meaning of metamorphosis. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Hong Kong’s Protest Movement and the Fight for the City’s Soul," 9 Dec. 2019 His magnum opus, the Aegypt tetralogy, took more than two decades to complete, and his readers, a patient and faithful bunch, have become grudgingly accustomed to the long intervals between books. Bill Sheehan, Washington Post, "John Crowley continues an uncharacteristically prolific period with the singular ‘And Go Like This’," 6 Dec. 2019 The third part of the tetralogy by William Shakespeare explores the precarious friendship of Prince Hal and Falstaff. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville shows this week: 'Henry IV,' Hozier, Bishop Briggs & more," 3 Apr. 2019 Also in celebration of her perpetually relevant legacy, the fashion house is releasing a tetralogy of four short films, over the course of this year, that document Chanel's life . Whitney Robinson, Town & Country, "Was Coco Chanel a Feminist?," 22 Feb. 2017 Wagner’s massive operatic tetralogy based on Nordic myths, returns to the San Francisco Opera on June 12 for three full go-rounds. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bingeing on ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘The Wire’? Wagner’s ‘Ring’ paved the way," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tetralogy.' 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 tetralogy

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tetralogy

Greek tetralogia, from tetra- + -logia -logy

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Time Traveler for tetralogy

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The first known use of tetralogy was in 1656

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tetralogy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tetralogy. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on tetralogy

Britannica English: Translation of tetralogy for Arabic Speakers

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