any group of four persons or things.
an organized group of four singers or players.
a musical composition for four voices or instruments.

Also especially British, quar·tette.

Origin of quartet

1765–75; < Italian quartetto, diminutive of quarto < Latin quartus fourth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quartet

Contemporary Examples of quartet

Historical Examples of quartet

  • The quartet in the Beebe store watched his departure from the windows.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • They sing a quartet, and with the most complete purity and melody.

    Strife and Peace

    Fredrika Bremer

  • The other three members were tools over whom the quartet had obtained some hold.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

  • And as he paused now to decide upon his program, he thought of that quartet.

  • The quartet had poor Blumpo down on his back and were kicking him as hard as they could.

British Dictionary definitions for quartet




a group of four singers or instrumentalists or a piece of music composed for such a groupSee string quartet
any group of foura quartet of fast bowlers

Word Origin for quartet

C18: from Italian quartetto, diminutive of quarto fourth
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 quartet

1773, "musical composition for four instruments or voices," from French quartette, from Italian quartetto, diminutive of quarto "fourth," from Latin quartus "fourth" (see quart). Meaning "set of four singers or musical performers" is from 1814.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quartet in Culture


A group of four musicians or singers; also, a piece of music for four instruments or voices.

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.