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  1. occurring, done, paid, issued, etc., at the end of every quarter of a year: a quarterly report; quarterly interest.
  2. pertaining to or consisting of a quarter.
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noun, plural quar·ter·lies.
  1. a periodical issued every three months.
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  1. by quarters; once each quarter of a year: The bank pays interest quarterly.
  2. Heraldry.
    1. with division into four quarters.
    2. in the four quarters of an escutcheon.
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Origin of quarterly

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at quarter, -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for quarterly


  1. occurring, done, paid, etc, at intervals of three months
  2. of, relating to, or consisting of a quarter
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noun plural -lies
  1. a periodical issued every three months
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  1. once every three months
  2. heraldry into or in quartersa shield divided quarterly
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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 quarterly


early 15c., from quarter (n.) + -ly (2). As an adjective from 1560s, from -ly (1). As a noun, from 1830, "a quarterly publication," from the adjective.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper