Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

quark

[kwawrk, kwahrk]
noun
  1. 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.
Show More

Origin of quark

coined in 1963 by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (born 1929), who associated it with a word in Joyce's Finnegans Wake, read variously as English quark croak and German Quark curd, (slang) rubbish, tripe
Can be confusedquark quirk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quarks

Contemporary Examples


British Dictionary definitions for quarks

quark1

noun
  1. 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
Show More

Word Origin

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

quark2

noun
  1. a type of low-fat soft cheese
Show More

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for quarks

quark

n.

1964, applied by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (b.1929), who said in correspondence with the editors of the OED in 1978 that he took it from a word in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1939), but also that the sound of the word was in his head before he encountered the printed form in Joyce. German Quark "curds, rubbish" has been proposed as the ultimate inspiration [Barnhart; Gell-Mann's parents were immigrants from Austria-Hungary]. George Zweig, Gell-Mann's co-proposer of the theory, is said to have preferred the name ace for them.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quarks in Science

quark

[kwôrk, kwärk]
  1. 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.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

quarks in Culture

quarks

[(kwahrks, kwawrks)]

In physics, the elementary particles that make up the protons and neutrons that in turn make up the atomic nucleus. Quarks are the most basic known constituent of matter. (See antimatter.)

Show More

Note

No quarks have been seen in the laboratory because, according to current theory, they cannot exist as free particles.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.