n. & v.
n. 1 each of four equal parts into which a thing is or might be divided. 2 a period of three months, usu. for which payments become due on the quarter day. 3 a point of time 15 minutes before or after any hour. 4 a school or US university term. 5 a 25 US or Canadian cents. b a coin of this denomination. 6 a part of a town, esp. as occupied by a particular class or group (residential quarter). 7 a a point of the compass. b a region at such a point. 8 the direction, district, or source of supply etc. (help from any quarter; came from all quarters). 9 (in pl.) a lodgings; an abode. b Mil. the living accommodation of troops etc. 10 a one fourth of a lunar month. b the moon's position between the first and second (first quarter) or third and fourth (last quarter) of these. 11 a each of the four parts into which an animal's or bird's carcass is divided, each including a leg or wing. b (in pl.) hist. the four parts into which a traitor etc. was cut after execution. c (in pl.) = HINDQUARTERS. 12 mercy offered or granted to an enemy in battle etc. on condition of surrender. 13 a Brit. a grain measure equivalent to 8 bushels. b one-fourth of a hundredweight (28 lb. or US 25 lb.). 14 a each of four divisions on a shield. b a charge occupying this, placed in chief. 15 either side of a ship abaft the beam. 16 (in American and Australian football) each of four equal periods into which a match is divided.
v.tr. 1 divide into quarters. 2 hist. divide (the body of an executed person) in this way. 3 a put (troops etc.) into quarters. b station or lodge in a specified place. 4 (foll. by on) impose (a person) on another as a lodger. 5 cut (a log) into quarters, and these into planks so as to show the grain well. 6 (esp. of a dog) range or traverse (the ground) in every direction. 7 Heraldry a place or bear (charges or coats of arms) on the four quarters of a shield's surface. b add (another's coat) to one's hereditary arms. c (foll. by with) place in alternate quarters with. d divide (a shield) into four or more parts by vertical and horizontal lines. quarter-binding the type of bookbinding in which the spine is bound in one material (usu. leather) and the sides in another. quarter day one of four days on which quarterly payments are due, tenancies begin and end, etc. quarter-final a match or round preceding the semifinal. quarter-hour 1 a period of 15 minutes. 2 = sense 3 of n. quarter-light Brit. a window in the side of a motor vehicle, closed carriage, etc. other than the main door-window. quarter-line Rugby Football a space enclosed by a line across the ground 22 metres from the goal-line. quarter note esp. US Mus. a crotchet. quarter-plate 1 a photographic plate or film 8.3 x 10.8 cm. 2 a photograph reproduced from it. quarter sessions hist. (in the UK) a court of limited criminal and civil jurisdiction and of appeal, usu. held quarterly. quarter-tone Mus. half a semitone.
[ ME f. AF quarter, OF quartier f. L quartarius fourth part (of a measure) f. quartus fourth ]