October 28, 2013
quarter (verb)
\KWOR-ter\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : to divide into four equal parts b : to separate into parts2 : to provide with lodging or shelter
How do you use it?
The troops were quartered in a small village far from the front line.
Are you a word wiz?

"Quarter" comes from the Latin word "quartus." What do you think "quartus" means?

The Latin "quartus" means "fourth," and when the English verb "quarter" was derived from "quartus," its earliest meaning was "to divide something into four equal parts." Over time that meaning broadened, so "quarter" later meant "to separate into parts" without referring to a specific number of parts. But how did this "provide with lodging" sense come about? The noun "quarter," which also referred to things divided into four, came to be used of a division of land, then an area of a town or city (we still see this in New Orleans with the French Quarter), and finally a place where the military were stationed. The verb borrowed this sense of the noun to become the "provide with lodging" sense.
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