from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person having white ancestors except for one black grandparent. Used especially as a classification under certain European colonial legal systems and now considered offensive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The offspring of a mulatto and a white person; a person having one fourth African blood.
  • Fourth in descent from a negro parent, one parent in each generation having been white.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The offspring of a mulatto and a white person; a person quarter-blooded.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun historical A person of three-fourths Caucasian descent and one fourth African descent.
  • adjective historical Having three-fourths Caucasian descent and one-fourth African descent.

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

  • noun an offspring of a mulatto and a white parent; a person who is one-quarter black


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

[Alteration of Spanish cuarterón, from cuarto, quarter, from Latin quārtus; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Alteration of Spanish cuarterón ("offspring of European and mestizo"), from cuarto ("fourth"), from Latin quartus ("fourth")



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Generally speaking, each person's caste is decided by the quality of the blood, which shows itself, too plainly to be concealed, at first sight. Yet the least drop of Spanish blood, if it be only of quadroon or octoroon, is sufficient to raise one from the position of a serf, and entitle him to wear a suit of clothes,-- boots, hat, cloak, spurs, long knife, all complete, though coarse and dirty as may be,-- and to call himself Espanol, and to hold property, if he can get any.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 13

    September 6, 2008

  • "Neville had a 'three-point' plan: first, the full-bloods would die out; second, take half-castes away from their mothers; third, control marriages among half-castes and so encourage intermarriage with the white community. The 'young half-blood maiden is a pleasant, placid, complacent person as a rule, while the quadroon (one-quarter Aboriginal) is often strikingly attractive, with her oftimes auburn hair, rosy freckled colouring, and good figure ...' These were the sort of people who should be elevated 'to our own plane'. In this way, it would be possible to 'eventually forget that there were ever any Aborigines in Australia'."

    - Colin Tatz, 'Genocide in Australia'.

    October 27, 2008

  • "There were slow boys and bashful boys, feeble boys and riotous boys, boys that lisped and boys that stuttered, one or two lame ones, and a merry little quadroon, who could not be taken in elsewhere, but who was welcome to the `Bhaer-garten', though some people predicted that his admission would ruin the school."

    - Louisa M. Alcott, Little Women, 1869

    August 9, 2009