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

  • adj. Occurring every fourth day, counting inclusively, or every 72 hours. Used of a fever.
  • n. A malarial fever recurring every 72 hours.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fever whose symptoms recur every four days.
  • adj. Recurring every four days; especially in designating a form of malaria with such symptoms.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the fourth; occurring every fourth day, reckoning inclusively.
  • n. An intermittent fever which returns every fourth day, reckoning inclusively, that is, one in which the interval between paroxysms is two days.
  • n. A measure, the fourth part of some other measure.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having to do with the fourth; especially, occurring every fourth day: as, a quartan ague or fever (one which recurs on the fourth day—that is, after three days).
  • n. An intermitting ague that occurs every fourth day, both days of consecutive occurrence being counted, as on Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday, etc.
  • n. A measure containing the fourth part of some other measure.

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

  • n. a malarial fever that recurs every fourth day
  • adj. occurring every fourth day (especially the fever and weakness of malaria)


Middle English quartaine, from Old French, from Latin quārtāna, from quārtānus, of the fourth, from quārtus, fourth; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman quartaine, Old French quartaine, from Latin quartāna (short for febris quartana), noun use of feminine form of quartānus ("recurring every four days"), from quartus ("fourth"). (Wiktionary)


  • In contrast, the incubation period for quartan malaria, caused by Plasmodium malariae, can be as long as thirty or forty days, with fever coming every fourth day.

    Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico

  • Antonio de Ciudad Real happily notes the day, in Tratado curioso, when he realized that he was finally free from quartan fever (cuartanas), which had plagued him for more than three years. 64 Intermittent fevers like these were probably malarial, and these two cases could very well have originated in Spain, as their carriers had only recently arrived from the Peninsula.

    Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico

  • He admitted to having been laid low by a quartan ague but insisted it was nothing to worry about.

    Secrets of the Tudor Court

  • Classically, but infrequently observed, the attacks occur every second day with the "tertian" parasites (P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. ovale) and every third day with the "quartan" parasite (P. malariae).


  • Such a deposit may be expected, when the fever is of a continual type, and that it will pass into a quartan, if it become intermittent, and its paroxysms come on in an irregular manner, and if in this form it approach autumn.

    The Book Of Prognostics

  • This disease is habitual to them both in summer and in winter, and in addition they are very subject to dropsies of a most fatal character; and in summer dysenteries, diarrheas, and protracted quartan fevers frequently seize them, and these diseases when prolonged dispose such constitutions to dropsies, and thus prove fatal.

    On Airs, Waters, And Places

  • If it be within the [1075] body, and not putrified, it causeth black jaundice; if putrified, a quartan ague; if it break out to the skin, leprosy; if to parts, several maladies, as scurvy, &c.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Pork, of all meats, is most nutritive in his own nature, [1351] but altogether unfit for such as live at ease, are any ways unsound of body or mind: too moist, full of humours, and therefore noxia delicatis, saith Savanarola, ex earum usu ut dubitetur an febris quartana generetur: naught for queasy stomachs, insomuch that frequent use of it may breed a quartan ague.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Guianerius gives an instance in one so caused by a quartan ague, and Montanus consil.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Mirabolanes, all five kinds, are happily [4207] prescribed against melancholy and quartan agues; Brassivola speaks out [4208] of a thousand experiences, he gave them in pills, decoctions, &c., look for peculiar receipts in him.

    Anatomy of Melancholy


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