Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to quark: quark cheese, curd
quark 1(kwôrk, kwärk)
1. Any of a class of six fundamental fermions, two in each of the three generations, one having an electric charge of - 1/3 , the other, + 2/3 , comprising the down, up, strange, charm, bottom, and top quarks. Quarks are the basic components of all hadrons.
2. Any of the six quarks' associated antiparticles, the antiquarks.
[From Three quarks for Muster Mark!, a line in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.]
Word History: "Three quarks for Muster Mark! / Sure he hasn't got much of a bark / And sure any he has it's all beside the mark." This passage from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, part of a scurrilous 13-line poem directed against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Tristan legend, has left its mark on modern physics. The poem and the accompanying prose are packed with names of birds and words suggestive of birds, and the poem is a squawk against the king that suggests the cawing of a crow. The word quark comes from the standard English verb quark, meaning "to caw, croak," and also from the dialectal verb quawk, meaning "to caw, screech like a bird." It is easy to see why Joyce chose the word, but why should it have become the name for a group of hypothetical subatomic particles proposed as the fundamental units of matter? Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist who proposed this name for these particles, said in a private letter of June 27, 1978, to the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary that he had been influenced by Joyce's words: "The allusion to three quarks seemed perfect" (originally there were only three subatomic quarks). Gell-Mann, however, wanted to pronounce the word with (ô) not (ä), as Joyce seemed to indicate by rhyming words in the vicinity such as Mark. Gell-Mann got around that "by supposing that one ingredient of the line 'Three quarks for Muster Mark' was a cry of 'Three quarts for Mister ... ' heard in H.C. Earwicker's pub," a plausible suggestion given the complex punning in Joyce's novel. It seems appropriate that this perplexing and humorous novel should have supplied the term for particles that come in six "flavors" and three "colors."
quark 2(kwôrk, kwärk)
A soft, creamy, usually unsalted cheese traditional to central Europe and made from cow's milk that is coagulated by the lactic acid produced by bacteria rather than by the use of rennet.
(Atomic Physics) physics any of a set of six hypothetical elementary particles together with their antiparticles thought to be fundamental units of all baryons and mesons but unable to exist in isolation. The magnitude of their charge is either two thirds or one third of that of the electron
[C20: coined by James Joyce in the novel Finnegans Wake, and given special application in physics]
(Cookery) a type of low-fat soft cheese
any of a group of subatomic particles having a fractional electric charge and thought to constitute, together with their antiparticles, all baryons and mesons.
[coined in 1963 by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (b. 1929), who associated it with a word in Joyce's Finnegans Wake]
Any of a group of elementary particles supposed to be the fundamental units that combine in threes to make up protons and neutrons. See Note at subatomic particle.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||quark - (physics) hypothetical truly fundamental particle in mesons and baryons; there are supposed to be six flavors of quarks (and their antiquarks), which come in pairs; each has an electric charge of +2/3 or -1/3; "quarks have not been observed directly but theoretical predictions based on their existence have been confirmed experimentally"|
natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics"
beauty quark, bottom quark - a quark with a charge of -1/3 and a mass about 10,000 times that of an electron
charm quark - a quark with an electric charge of +2/3 and a mass 2900 times that of an electron and a charm of +1
down quark - a stable quark with an electric charge of -1/3 and a mass 607 times that of an electron
elementary particle, fundamental particle - (physics) a particle that is less complex than an atom; regarded as constituents of all matter
hadron - any elementary particle that interacts strongly with other particles
squark, strange quark - a quark with an electric charge of -1/3 and a mass 988 times that of an electron and a strangeness of -1
top quark, truth quark - a hypothetical quark with a charge of +2/3 and a mass more than 100,000 times that of an electron
up quark - a stable quark with an electric charge of +2/3 and a mass 607 times that of an electron
|2.||quark - fresh unripened cheese of a smooth texture made from pasteurized milk, a starter, and rennet|
cheese - a solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk