Quaternary meaning

kwŏt'ər-nĕr'ē, kwə-tûr'nə-rē
Consisting of four; in fours.
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Of, relating to, or being the period of geologic time from about 1.8 million years ago to the present, the more recent of the two periods of the Cenozoic Era. It is characterized by the appearance and development of humans and includes the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs.
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Relating to a nonhydrogen atom bonded to four other nonhydrogen atoms, especially to four carbon atoms.

A quarternary nitrogen atom.

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The number four.
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The member of a group that is fourth in order.
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The Quaternary Period.
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Consisting of four; in sets of four.
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Designating or of the third geologic period of the Cenozoic Era, characterized by a series of ice ages, the first toolmaking cultures, and the rise of modern human culture.
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The number four.
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A set of four.
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Quaternary . The second and last period of the Cenozoic Era, from about 2 million years ago to the present. During this time the continents were situated approximately as they are today, although the geography was different due to fluctuations in sea levels caused by the advance and retreat of ice sheets. Humans first appeared during this period.
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Relating to or having a carbon atom that is attached to four other carbon atoms in a molecule. Quaternary pentane, for example, contains five carbon atoms of which one is in the center and the other four are each attached to it.
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Of fourth rank or order.
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Of a mathematical expression containing e.g. x4.
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(geology) The geological period of the Cenozoic Era immediately following the Tertiary. It is subdivided into the Pleistocene and the Holocene Epochs.
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the Quaternary
  • The Quaternary Period or its rocks.
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Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

the Quaternary

Origin of quaternary

  • Latin quaternārius from quaternī by fours from quater four times kwetwer- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From the Latin quaternārius (“containing or consisting of four"), from quaternÄ« (“four each", “four at a time") + -ārius (whence the English suffix -ary); compare the French quaternaire.
    From Wiktionary