te·​tral·​o·​gy te-ˈträ-lə-jē How to pronounce tetralogy (audio) -ˈtra- How to pronounce tetralogy (audio)
plural tetralogies
: a series of four connected works (such as operas or novels)
: a group of four dramatic pieces presented consecutively on the Attic stage at the Dionysiac festival

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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 Scurati’s rendering of the turbulent years from 1919 to 1925, the first volume in a projected tetralogy, is translated by Anne Milano Appel. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2022 Set in various Italian locales, the TV adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel tetralogy about two lifelong friends is easily the most gorgeous series on the list and arguably all of television. Inkoo Kang, Washington Post, 1 July 2022 Thomas was a pioneering Black surgeon who developed a technique to treat a birth defect affecting the heart called tetralogy of Fallot. Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, 24 Feb. 2022 His own tetralogy, The Book of the New Sun, has been called the Ulysses of sci-fi fantasy, the sort of work that anchors a lot of bookshelves but hasn't necessarily been cracked open. Gregory Barber, Wired, 10 Feb. 2022 Figueiredo reclaimed the belt against Moreno in an amazing back-and-forth battle (setting up the first tetralogy in UFC history) and that made up for the 25-minute puzzle that was Ngannou-Gane. Josh Chesler, SPIN, 23 Jan. 2022 The four-film tetralogy, known as Rebuild of Evangelion, is a retelling of the series, one that delves deeper into the world after the original series’ finale. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, 20 Aug. 2021 But the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy has a new ending entirely. Rafael Motamayor, Vulture, 13 Aug. 2021 For almost two decades, over the more than 3,000 pages of a monumental tetralogy, Rick Perlstein has sought to answer exactly those questions. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Greek tetralogia, from tetra- + -logia -logy

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of tetralogy was in 1656


Dictionary Entries Near tetralogy

Cite this Entry

“Tetralogy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tetralogy. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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