American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Consisting of four; in fours.
- adj. Of or belonging to the geologic time, system of rocks, or sedimentary deposits of the second period of the Cenozoic Era, from the end of the Tertiary Period through the present, characterized by the appearance and development of humans and including the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. See Table at geologic time.
- adj. Chemistry Relating to an atom bonded to four carbon atoms: a quarternary nitrogen atom.
- n. The number four.
- n. The member of a group that is fourth in order.
- n. The Quaternary Period or its system of deposits.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Consisting of four; arranged or grouped in fours.
- [capitalized] In geology, noting that part of the geological series which is more recent than the Tertiary; Post-tertiary. (See Tertiary.) The oldest and most general division of the Quaternary is into diluvial and alluvial, by which terms are meant respectively coarse detrital material and fine detrital material—the one the result of rapid, the other of slower currents of water. The former presence of ice, both fixed and floating, over a part of the northern hemisphere, and especially in the regions where geology was earliest cultivated, has greatly complicated the question of this division of the Quaternary into subgroups or epochs. Thus diluvial has come to be replaced for the most part by glacial; and some English geologists divide the Quaternary into glacial and recent, using the term Pleistocene also as the equivalent of glacial. The term recent has also as its synonym both alluvial and human. While the essential difference between Tertiary and Quaternary is theoretically supposed to be that in the former a portion of the fossil species are extinct, while in the latter all are living, this does not apply in the case of land-animals, especially the mammals. In fact, there is, over extensive areas, great difficulty in deciding the question whether certain formations shall be called Tertiary or Quaternary, as, for instance, in the case of the Pampean deposits, which, although containing great numbers of species of mammals all or nearly all extinct, are generally considered by geologists as being of Quaternary age.
- In old chemistry, noting those compounds which contained four elements, as fibrin, gelatin, etc.
- In mathematics, containing, as a quantic, or homogeneous integral function, four variables. A surface may be called a quaternary locus, because defined by a quaternary equation, or one equating a quaternary quantic to zero.
- n. A group of four things.
- Fourfold or tetragonal: said of the symmetry of crystals. See symmetry, 6.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Consisting of four; by fours, or in sets of four.
- adj. (Geol.) Later than, or subsequent to, the Tertiary; Post-tertiary.
- n. The number four.
- n. (Geol.) The Quaternary age, era, or formation. See the
- adj. consisting of or especially arranged in sets of four
- n. the cardinal number that is the sum of three and one
- n. last 2 million years
- adj. coming next after the third and just before the fifth in position or time or degree or magnitude
- From the Latin quaternārius ("containing or consisting of four"), from quaternī ("four each”, “four at a time") + -ārius (whence the English suffix -ary); compare the French quaternaire. (Wiktionary)
- Latin quaternārius, from quaternī, by fours, from quater, four times. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But basically we are in what is called the quaternary period and for the past 200,000 years we have been going in and out of ice ages.”
“Other injuries caused by an explosion, such as burns, are called quaternary injuries.”
“TIERNO: That you should leave that material wet for ten minutes because these wipes have what's called quaternary ammonium compounds in them, and that takes at least ten minutes to really effectively work.”
“This leaves the scale a decimal scale still, even while it may justly be called quaternary; and produces one of the most singular and interesting instances of number-system formation that has ever been observed.”
“The quaternary is the most perfect number, and the root of other numbers, and of all things.”
“The scientists explain that so-called quaternary amine-treated organoclays have been pioneering nanoparticles in the field of plastics nanotechnology.”
“Inspired by this, the researchers created a highly reactive and selective chemical component referred to as a quaternary centre that, because of structural similarities, also drives the essential first step in the kapakahines synthesis.”
“The current one is known as the quaternary glaciation and started about 4 million years ago.”
“Use of sanitizers such as quaternary ammonium compounds that destroy the live components of milk.”
“However, others have found the quaternary ammonium compounds to be effective and practical for the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns in the industrial setting. 22, 23 The Poison Control Center's current recommendation is to apply 2.5 percent calcium gluconate gel topically to all burned areas until the patient is symptom free.”
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