[ kwawrk, kwahrk ]
/ kwɔrk, kwɑrk /
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Physics. any of the hypothetical particles with spin 1/2, baryon number 1/3, and electric charge 1/3 or −2/3 that, together with their antiparticles, are believed to constitute all the elementary particles classed as baryons and mesons; they are distinguished by their flavors, designated as up (u), down (d), strange (s), charm (c), bottom or beauty (b), and top or truth (t), and their colors, red, green, and blue.Compare color (def. 18), flavor (def. 5), quantum chromodynamics, quark model.



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Origin of quark

Coined in 1963 by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929–2019), who associated it with a word in Joyce's Finnegans Wake, read variously as English quark croak and German Quark curd, (slang) rubbish, tripe


quark , quirk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for quark

British Dictionary definitions for quark (1 of 2)

/ (kwɑːk) /


physics any of a set of six hypothetical elementary particles together with their antiparticles thought to be fundamental units of all baryons and mesons but unable to exist in isolation. The magnitude of their charge is either two thirds or one third of that of the electron

Word Origin for quark

C20: coined by James Joyce in the novel Finnegans Wake, and given special application in physics

British Dictionary definitions for quark (2 of 2)

/ (kwɑːk) /


a type of low-fat soft cheese

Word Origin for quark

from German
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

Scientific definitions for quark

[ kwôrk, kwärk ]

Any of a group of elementary particles supposed to be the fundamental units that combine to make up the subatomic particles known as hadrons (baryons, such as neutrons and protons, and mesons). There are six different flavors (or types) of quark: up quark, down quark, top quark, bottom quark, charm quark, and strange quark. Quarks have fractional electric charges, such as 13 the charge of an electron. See Note at elementary particle. See Table at subatomic particle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.