Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A square dance of French origin composed of five sections and performed by four couples.
  • n. Music for this dance in 6/8 and 2/4 time.
  • n. A card game popular during the 18th century, played by four people with a deck of 40 cards.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dance originating from the mid 1700s with four dancers forming a square, rather much like the modern square dance.
  • n. A card game from the 1700s.
  • n. Quadrille ruled graph paper, quad paper.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Marked with squares, generally by thin lines crossing at right angles and at equal intervals.
  • n. A dance having five figures, in common time, four couples of dancers being in each set.
  • n. The appropriate music for a quadrille.
  • n. A game played by four persons with forty cards, being the remainder of an ordinary pack after the tens, nines, and eights are discarded.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A game played by four persons with forty cards, which are the remainder of the pack after the tens, nines, and eights are discarded.
  • n. A square dance for four couples, consisting regularly of five parts or movements, each complete in itself — namely, le pantalon, Pété, la poule, la trénise (or la pastourelle), and la finale.
  • n. Any single set of dancers or maskers arranged in four sets or groups.
  • n. Any square dance resembling the quadrille.
  • n. Music for such square dances.
  • Same as quadrillé.
  • To play at quadrille.
  • To dance quadrilles.
  • Divided or marked off into squares; having a pattern composed of small squares: said of textile fabrics, writing-papers ruled with lines crossing at right angles, and the like.
  • n. A small squadron; a cluster of richly caparisoned horsemen at a tournament or mounted fête. They were distinguished by different colors.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a square dance of 5 or more figures for 4 or more couples
  • n. music for dancing the quadrille

Etymologies

French, from quadrille, team, crew, one of four groups of horsemen, from Spanish cuadrilla, probably diminutive of cuadro, square, from Latin quadrum; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.
French, perhaps from Spanish cuartillo, diminutive of cuarto, fourth, from Latin quārtus; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French, in sense of “group of knights”, from Spanish cuadrilla, diminutive of cuadra ("square") (compare also cuadra ("four")), from Latin quadra. (Wiktionary)
French quadrillé. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I think you'll agree there's a certain likeness in the bearing, the handsome features and noble mien, his quadrille is second to none and of course his manners are on the whole impeccable.

    45 entries from March 2008

  • A quadrille is a very humdrum performance nowadays to those who know nothing so delightful as the wild monotony of the round dance.

    Kirsteen: The Story of a Scotch Family Seventy Years Ago

  • The quadrille is a stately and a conversational dance.

    Manners and Social Usages

  • Sidsall recalled the quadrille he had led her through at Lacy's party; he had been a perfect partner, at once light and firm.

    Java Head

  • The quadrille was a stately spectacular display, in which splendid dress and stirring music and the effects of rhythmic motion had been brought freely into play for the delight of the beholders.

    Miss Bretherton

  • When all had been served, they lingered around the surgeon's quarters, talking with each other and laughing, others formed on for a stag quadrille, and danced, while a nigger fiddled.

    How Private George W. Peck Put Down The Rebellion or, The Funny Experiences of a Raw Recruit - 1887

  • Daniel Hannan set the tone, describing the posturing as the "quadrille" and latterly, Fraser Nelson on the Spectator blog picked up the theme, with a short but pointed post, headed: "How Barroso and Brown could stitch up the press".

    And so it goes on, and on and on…

  • Daniel Hannan does a fairly decent analysis of the state of play on the treaty "quadrille" this morning in Brussels Journal, the oh so predictable and tedious posturing of member states some of them as we lead up to the IGC and its equally predictable outcome.

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • Kitty goes to a ball prepared to perform the first quadrille with Vronsky.

    Ten of the best balls in literature

  • During a quadrille a roar of satisfaction went up.

    The Wife of a King

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