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[kwo-dril, kwuh-, kuh-] /kwɒˈdrɪl, kwə-, kə-/
a square dance for four couples, consisting of five parts or movements, each complete in itself.
the music for such a dance.
Origin of quadrille1
1730-40; < French < Spanish cuadrilla company, troop, diminutive of cuadra square < Latin quadra


[kwo-dril, kwuh-, kuh-] /kwɒˈdrɪl, kwə-, kə-/
a card game played by four persons.
1720-30; < French < Spanish cuartillo, diminutive of cuarto fourth < Latin quartus


[kwo-dril, kwuh-, kuh-] /kwɒˈdrɪl, kwə-, kə-/
ruled in squares, as graph paper.
1880-85; < French quadrillé, past participle of quadriller to rule in squares, derivative of quadrille lozenge < Spanish cuadrilla; see quadrille1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for quadrille
Historical Examples
  • I would not take the trouble to stand up in a quadrille, if I were in his place.

  • I opened it by dancing a quadrille with Flavia: then I waltzed with her.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • Coupeau was trying to force his way through the dancers and was disrupting the quadrille.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • They'll turn the squadron into a quadrille and the march into a dance.

    Rosinante to the Road Again

    John Dos Passos
  • She could not say any more, as she was called away to a game at quadrille.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • The lady who had excited it was advancing in a quadrille, some ten yards from her admirer.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • quadrille parties were held weekly by the regiments and corps in garrison.

    A Soldier's Life Edwin G. Rundle
  • I engage Madeleine for the first quadrille, and Bertha for the first waltz.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • You can walk through a quadrille, so you need not begin with excuses.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • This is my friend Bob Hely, performing the Cavalier seul in a quadrille.

    The Christmas Books William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for quadrille


/kwɒˈdrɪl; kwə-/
a square dance of five or more figures for four or more couples
a piece of music for such a dance, alternating between simple duple and compound duple time
Word Origin
C18: via French from Spanish cuadrilla, diminutive of cuadro square, from Latin quadra


/kwɒˈdrɪl; kwə-/
an old card game for four players
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Spanish cuartillo, from cuarto fourth, from Latin quartus, influenced by quadrille1
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 quadrille

1773, "lively square dance for four couples," from French quadrille (17c.), originally one of four groups of horsemen in a tournament (a sense attested in English from 1738), from Spanish cuadrilla, diminutive of cuadro "four-sided battle square," from Latin quadrum "a square," related to quattuor "four" (see four). The craze for the dance hit England in 1816, and it underwent a vigorous revival late 19c. among the middle classes.

Earlier the name of a popular card game for four hands, and in this sense from French quadrille (1725), from Spanish cuartillo, from cuarto "fourth," from Latin quartus. OED notes it as fashionable from 1726 ("and was in turn superseded by whist"), the year of Swift's (or Congreve's) satirical ballad on the craze:

The commoner, and knight, the peer,
Men of all ranks and fame,
Leave to their wives the only care,
To propagate their name;
And well that duty they fulfil
When the good husband's at Quadrille &c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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