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[kwo-driv-ee-uh m]
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noun, plural quad·riv·i·a [kwo-driv-ee-uh] /kwɒˈdrɪv i ə/.
  1. (during the Middle Ages) the more advanced division of the seven liberal arts, comprising arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.
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Compare trivium.

Origin of quadrivium

1795–1805; < Late Latin, special use of Latin quadrivium place where four ways meet; see quadri-, via, -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for quadrivium

Historical Examples

  • Such men as Anselm were educated on the Trivium and Quadrivium.

    The History of Dartmouth College

    Baxter Perry Smith

  • The Trivium was sometimes designated as logic and the Quadrivium as physic.

  • The four branches of the quadrivium were pursued more casually.

  • Music, the fourth branch of the Quadrivium, was zealously cultivated.

  • Thus the first three books contain the Trivium and Quadrivium.

British Dictionary definitions for quadrivium


noun plural -ia (-ɪə)
  1. (in medieval learning) the higher division of the seven liberal arts, consisting of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and musicCompare trivium
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Word Origin

from Medieval Latin, from Latin: crossroads, meeting of four ways, from quadri- + via way
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 quadrivium


"arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy," 1804 (see liberal arts), from Latin quadrivium, which meant "place where four roads meet, crossroads," from quadri- "four" (see quadri-) + via "way, road, channel, course" (see via). The adjective quadrivial is attested from late 15c. in English with the sense "having four roads."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper