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[kwod-ruh nt] /ˈkwɒd rənt/
a quarter of a circle; an arc of 90°.
the area included between such an arc and two radii drawn one to each extremity.
something shaped like a quarter of a circle, as a part of a machine.
Geometry, Astronomy. one of the four parts into which a plane, as the face of a heavenly body, is divided by two perpendicular lines, numbered counterclockwise from upper right:
the first quadrant of the moon.
an instrument, usually containing a graduated arc of 90°, used in astronomy, navigation, etc., for measuring altitudes.
Astrology. one of the four quarters of the horoscope: determined by the ascendant, nadir, descendant, and midheaven and numbered counterclockwise from the ascendant.
Furniture. one of two metal sliding pieces, of quadrant form, used to support the fall front of a desk from above.
Origin of quadrant
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin quadrant- (stem of quadrāns) fourth part
Related forms
[kwo-dran-tl] /kwɒˈdræn tl/ (Show IPA),
quadrantlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for quadrant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If the rudder is to be kept in a certain adjustment a quadrant is necessary.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • Later on, these actions of the quadrant will be carefully examined.

    The Story of the Cotton Plant Frederick Wilkinson
  • This operation is closely associated, however, with the action of the quadrant.

    The Story of the Cotton Plant Frederick Wilkinson
  • Each of the four parts is called a quadrant, and each quadrant has 90 degrees.

  • You were on the board in that quadrant of the ship, and you let it get in too close.

    But, I Don't Think Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Is a cross or the quadrant and compasses the more potent charm?

    Pan-Islam George Wyman Bury
  • By the end of one month in this department he was able to finish a Hadley quadrant.

    James Watt Andrew Carnegie
  • After looking about him for some time he told me to go below and get his quadrant.

    Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for quadrant


  1. a quarter of the circumference of a circle
  2. the area enclosed by two perpendicular radii of a circle and its circumference
  3. any of the four sections into which a plane is divided by two coordinate axes
a piece of a mechanism in the form of a quarter circle, esp one used as a cam or a gear sector
an instrument formerly used in astronomy and navigation for measuring the altitudes of stars, consisting of a graduated arc of 90° and a sighting mechanism attached to a movable arm
Derived Forms
quadrantal (kwɒˈdræntəl) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin quadrāns a quarter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quadrant

late 14c., "a quarter of a day, six hours," from Middle French quadrant, from Latin quadrantem (nominative quadrans) "fourth part," also the name of a coin worth a quarter of an as, noun use of present participle of quadrare "to make square; put in order, arrange, complete; run parallel, be exact," figuratively "to fit, suit, be proper," related to quadrus "a square," quattuor "four" (see four). The surveying instrument is first so called c.1400, because it forms a quarter circle. Related: Quadrantal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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quadrant in Medicine

quadrant quad·rant (kwŏd'rənt)

  1. A circular arc of 90 degrees; one fourth of the circumference of a circle.

  2. A quarter portion of any roughly circular anatomical area such as the abdomen, measuring along imaginary axes at right angles to each other.

quad·ran'tic (kwŏ-drān'tĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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quadrant in Science
  1. An arc equal to one quarter of the circumference of a circle; an arc of 90°.

  2. Any of the four regions into which a plane is divided by the axes of a Cartesian coordinate system. The quadrants are numbered counterclockwise one through four, beginning with the quadrant in which both the x- and y-coordinates are positive (usually the upper right quadrant).

  3. A navigational instrument similar to a sextant but with an arc of 90° rather than 60°. See more at sextant.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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