• synonyms


[kwawr-ter-mas-ter, -mah-ster]
  1. Military. an officer charged with providing quarters, clothing, fuel, transportation, etc., for a body of troops.
  2. Navy. a petty officer having charge of signals, navigating apparatus, etc.
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Origin of quartermaster

First recorded in 1400–50, quartermaster is from the late Middle English word quarter maister. See quarter, master
Related formsquar·ter·mas·ter·like, adjectivequar·ter·mas·ter·ship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quartermaster

Historical Examples

  • The quartermaster's and medical departments were without trained assistants.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • Besides, Quartermaster Cornhill showed no signs of laughing.

  • Then the loud call of the quartermaster and the ringing of eight bells.

    Submarine Warfare of To-day

    Charles W. Domville-Fife

  • He sadly told her that the quartermaster was in great trouble.

    A War-Time Wooing

    Charles King

  • Quartermaster,” said he, as he stepped up to the helmsman, “how does she sail?


    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for quartermaster


  1. an officer responsible for accommodation, food, and equipment in a military unit
  2. a rating in the navy, usually a petty officer, with particular responsibility for steering a ship and other navigational duties
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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 quartermaster


early 15c., "subordinate officer of a ship," from French quartier-maître or directly from Dutch kwartier-meester; originally a ship's officer whose duties included stowing of the hold; later (c.1600) an officer in charge of quarters and rations for troops. See quarters.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper