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[kwawr-ee, kwor-ee]
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noun, plural quar·ries.
  1. an excavation or pit, usually open to the air, from which building stone, slate, or the like, is obtained by cutting, blasting, etc.
  2. an abundant source or supply.
verb (used with object), quar·ried, quar·ry·ing.
  1. to obtain (stone) from or as if from a quarry.
  2. to make a quarry in.

Origin of quarry1

1375–1425; Middle English quarey (noun) < Medieval Latin quareia, variant of quareria < Old French quarriere < Vulgar Latin *quadrāria place where stone is squared, derivative of Latin quadrāre to square
Related formsquar·ri·a·ble, quar·ry·a·ble, adjectiveun·quar·ried, adjective
Can be confusedquarry query


[kwawr-ee, kwor-ee]
noun, plural quar·ries.
  1. an animal or bird hunted or pursued.
  2. game, especially game hunted with hounds or hawks.
  3. any object of search, pursuit, or attack.

Origin of quarry2

1275–1325; Middle English querre < Old French cuiree, derivative of cuir skin, hide < Latin corium


[kwawr-ee, kwor-ee]
noun, plural quar·ries.
  1. a square stone or tile.
  2. quarrel2(def 2).

Origin of quarry3

1545–55; noun use of obsolete quarry (adj.) square < Old French quarre < Latin quadrātus quadrate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for quarries


noun plural -ries
  1. an open surface excavation for the extraction of building stone, slate, marble, etc, by drilling, blasting, or cutting
  2. a copious source of something, esp information
verb -ries, -rying or -ried
  1. to extract (stone, slate, etc) from or as if from a quarry
  2. (tr) to excavate a quarry in
  3. to obtain (something, esp information) diligently and laboriouslyhe was quarrying away in the reference library

Word Origin

C15: from Old French quarriere, from quarre (unattested) square-shaped stone, from Latin quadrāre to make square


noun plural -ries
  1. an animal, bird, or fish that is hunted, esp by other animals; prey
  2. anything pursued or hunted

Word Origin

C14 quirre entrails offered to the hounds, from Old French cuirée what is placed on the hide, from cuir hide, from Latin corium leather; probably also influenced by Old French coree entrails, from Latin cor heart


noun plural -ries
  1. a square or diamond shape
  2. something having this shape
  3. another word for quarrel 2

Word Origin

C16: from Old French quarré; see quarrel ²
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

Word Origin and History for quarries



"what is hunted," early 14c., quirre "entrails of deer placed on the hide and given to dogs of the chase as a reward," from Anglo-French quirreie, Old French cuiriee "the spoil, quarry" (Modern French curée), altered (by influence of Old French cuir "skin," from Latin corium "hide"), from Old French corée "viscera, entrails," from Vulgar Latin *corata "entrails," from Latin cor "heart" (see heart). Sense of "anything chased in hunt" is first recorded 1610s; earlier "bird targeted by a hawk or other raptor" (late 15c.).



"open place where rocks are excavated," c.1400 (mid-13c. as a place name), from Medieval Latin quareia, dissimilated from quarreria (mid-13c.), literally "place where stones are squared," from Latin quadrare "to square" (see quadrant).



1774, from quarry (n.2). Related: Quarried; quarrying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper