noun, plural quat·er·nar·ies.
Origin of quaternary
Examples from the Web for quaternary
Historical Examples of quaternary
“Quartenary” was amended to “Quaternary” in the first paragraph.On The Affinities of Leptarctus primus of Leidy
J. L. Wortman
They are referred to the dawn of the Quaternary or Pleistocene period.Prehistoric Man
W. L. H. Duckworth
In Europe it has appeared since the neolithic age, after the quaternary period.The Races of Man
It may have been in the Tertiary, the Quaternary, or not until the Recent period.
How does this affect the most characteristic of all Quaternary forms, that of man?
noun plural -naries
Word Origin for quaternary
early 15c., "consisting of four parts," from Latin quaternarius "of four each, containing four," from quaterni "four each, by fours," from quater "four times," related to quattuor "four" (see four). Also as a noun, "the number four" (mid-15c.), from Latin quaternarius.
In geological sense, attested from 1843 in English, proposed 1829 by French geologist Jules Pierre François Stanislas Desnoyers (1800-1887) as name for "the fourth great epoch of geological time," but because it comprises only the age of man, and the other epochs are many hundred times longer, not all accepted it.