quaternary(redirected from quaternaries)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
1. Consisting of four; in fours.
2. Quaternary Of, relating to, or being the period of geologic time from about 2.6 million years ago to the present, the more recent of the two periods of the Cenozoic Era. It is characterized by the appearance and development of humans and includes the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs. See Table at geologic time.
3. Chemistry Relating to a nonhydrogen atom bonded to four other nonhydrogen atoms, especially to four carbon atoms: a quaternary nitrogen atom.
n. pl. qua·ter·nar·ies
1. The number four.
2. The member of a group that is fourth in order.
3. Quaternary The Quaternary Period.
1. consisting of fours or by fours
2. fourth in a series
3. (Chemistry) chem containing or being an atom bound to four other atoms or groups: a quaternary ammonium compound.
4. (Mathematics) maths having four variables
n, pl -naries
the number four or a set of four
[C15: from Latin quaternārius each containing four, from quaternī by fours, distributive of quattuor four]
(Geological Science) of, denoting, or formed in the most recent period of geological time, which succeeded the Tertiary period nearly two million years ago
(Geological Science) the Quaternary the Quaternary period or rock system, divided into Pleistocene and Holocene (Recent) epochs or series
quat•er•nar•y(ˈkwɒt ərˌnɛr i, kwəˈtɜr nə ri)
adj., n., pl. -nar•ies. adj.
1. consisting of four.
2. arranged in fours.
3. (cap.) of or pertaining to the present period of earth history forming the latter part of the Cenozoic Era, originating about two million years ago, and including the Recent and Pleistocene Epochs.n.
4. a group of four.
5. the number four.
6. (cap.) the Quaternary Period or System.
[1400–50; late Middle English < Latin quaternārius consisting of four =quatern(ī) four at a time + -ārius -ary]
The second and last period of the Cenozoic Era, from about 2 million years ago to the present, characterized by the appearance of humans. See Chart at geologic time.
Quaternaryfour things collectively; a group of four facts or circumstances. Also quaternion.
Examples: quaternion of earth, air, water, and fire, 1695; of English writers—Shakespeare, Hooker, Bacon, Jeremy Taylor, 1868; of topics, 1648.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||Quaternary - last 2 million years|
|2.||quaternary - the cardinal number that is the sum of three and one|
|Adj.||1.||quaternary - consisting of or especially arranged in sets of four; "quaternate leaves"; "a quaternary compound"|
multiple - having or involving or consisting of more than one part or entity or individual; "multiple birth"; "multiple ownership"; "made multiple copies of the speech"; "his multiple achievements in public life"; "her multiple personalities"; "a pineapple is a multiple fruit"
|2.||quaternary - coming next after the third and just before the fifth in position or time or degree or magnitude; "the quaternary period of geologic time extends from the end of the tertiary period to the present"|
ordinal - being or denoting a numerical order in a series; "ordinal numbers"; "held an ordinal rank of seventh"