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quar·ter / ˈkwôrtər/ • n. 1. each of four equal or corresponding parts into which something is or can be divided: she cut each apple into quarters a page and a quarter a quarter of a mile. ∎  a period of three months regarded as one fourth of a year, used esp. in reference to financial transactions such as the payment of bills or a company's earnings: the payment for each quarter's electricity is made in the next quarter. ∎  a period of fifteen minutes or a point of time marking the transition from one fifteen-minute period to the next: the baby was born at a quarter past nine. ∎  a coin representing 25 cents, one fourth of a U.S. or Canadian dollar. ∎  each of the four parts into which an animal's or bird's carcass may be divided, each including a leg or wing. ∎  (quarters) the haunches or hindquarters of a horse. ∎  one fourth of a lunar month. ∎  (in various sports) each of four equal periods into which a game is divided. ∎  one of four terms into which a school or college year may be divided. 2. one fourth of a measure of weight, in particular: ∎  one fourth of a pound (avoirdupois, equal to 4 ounces). ∎  one fourth of a hundredweight ( U.S. 25 lb or Brit. 28 lb). ∎ Brit. a grain measure equivalent to 8 bushels. 3. a part of a town or city having a specific character or use: it is a beautiful port city with a fascinating medieval quarter. 4. the direction of one of the points of the compass, esp. as a direction from which the wind blows. ∎  a particular but unspecified person, group of people, or area: we have just had help from an unexpected quarter. ∎  either side of a ship aft of the beam: he trained his glasses over the starboard quarter. 5. (quarters) rooms or lodgings, esp. those allocated to servicemen or to staff in domestic service: the servants' quarters. 6. pity or mercy shown toward an enemy or opponent who is in one's power: the riot squad gave no quarter. 7. Heraldry each of four or more roughly equal divisions of a shield separated by vertical and horizontal lines. ∎  a square charge which covers the top left (dexter chief) quarter of the field. • v. [tr.] 1. divide into four equal or corresponding parts: peel and quarter the bananas. ∎ hist. cut (the body of an executed person) into four parts: the plotters were hanged, drawn, and quartered. ∎  cut (a log) into quarters, and these into planks so as to show the grain well. 2. (be quartered) be stationed or lodged in a specified place: many were quartered in tents. 3. range over or traverse (an area) in every direction: we watched a pair of kingfishers quartering the river looking for minnows. ∎  [intr.] move at an angle; go in a diagonal or zigzag direction: his young dog quartered back and forth in quick turns. 4. Heraldry display (different coats of arms) in quarters of a shield, esp. to show arms inherited from heiresses who have married into the bearer's family: Edward III quartered the French royal arms with his own. ∎  divide (a shield) into four or more parts by vertical and horizontal lines.

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quarteraorta, daughter, exhorter, exporter, extorter, Horta, importer, mortar, porter, quarter, slaughter, snorter, sorter, sporter, supporter, three-quarter, torte, transporter, underwater, water •altar, alter, assaulter, defaulter, falter, Gibraltar, halter, Malta, palter, psalter, salter, vaulter, Walter •flaunter, haunter, saunter, taunter, vaunter •exhauster, Forster •fraudster • granddaughter •stepdaughter • manslaughter •ripsnorter • pole-vaulter • backwater •headquarter • freshwater •breakwater • rainwater • seawater •dishwater • tidewater • Whitewater •saltwater • rosewater • shearwater •firewater •doubter, grouter, outer, pouter, scouter, shouter, spouter, touter •counter, encounter, mounter •jouster, ouster •revcounter •bloater, boater, Botha, Dakota, doter, emoter, floater, gloater, iota, Kota, Minnesota, motor, promoter, quota, rota, rotor, scoter, voter •bolter, coulter (US colter), Volta •boaster, coaster, poster, roaster, toaster •roadster • oldster •bolster, holster, pollster, soulster, upholster •billposter

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quarter a fourth part; in heraldry, each of four or more roughly equal divisions (dexter chief, sinister chief, dexter base, and sinister base) of a shield separated by vertical and horizontal lines; a square charge which covers the top left (dexter chief) quarter of the field.
quarter days each of four days fixed by custom as marking off the quarters of the year, on which some tenancies begin and end and quarterly payments of rent and other charges fall due. In England and Ireland the quarter days are Lady Day (March 25), Midsummer Day (June 24), Michaelmas (September 29), and Christmas (December 25). The name is also sometimes applied to the Scottish terms of Candlemas (February 2), Whitsun Day (May 15), Lammas (August 1), and Martinmas (November 11).

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QUARTER. As a noun the word means the promise not to kill an enemy soldier if he surrenders; a soldier may offer quarter to an enemy who appears to be losing the fight, or the latter may "cry quarter"—ask for quarter. After the Battle of the Waxhaws in North Carolina on 29 May 1780, in which Patriots were said to have been killed after demanding quarter, the expression "Tarleton's Quarter" arose to mean "no quarter."

As a verb, "to quarter" means to put soldiers into "quarters" (billets, barracks, or other form of lodging).

SEE ALSO Quartering Acts; Waxhaws, South Carolina.

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quarter one of four parts; measure of 8 bushels XIII; fourth part of a year; region, district XIV, place of residence, pl. soldier's lodgings; assigned position (spec. in close q-s); relations with another, terms of treatment XVI; exemption from being immediately put to death XVII. — AN. quarter, (O)F. quartier :- L. quartārius fourth part of a measure, quartern, gill, f. quartus fourth; see QUART1.
Hence vb. divide into quarters XIV; lodge in quarters XVI. quarterage quarterly payment XIV. quarter-deck orig. smaller deck above the half-deck XVII. quarterly adv. XV, adj. XVI. quartermaster officer in navy and army (q. in the senses of assigned position and lodging) XV. quarterstaff stout pole used as a weapon. XVI.

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1. Quatrefoil.

2. Timber post or stud in a timber-framed wall or partition. A series of such posts or studs is called quartering.