noun, plural quat·er·nar·ies.
Origin of quaternary
Examples from the Web for quaternary
The Horse, however, does occur on the Continent associated with the remains of man during the Quaternary period.The Cambridge Natural History, Vol X., Mammalia|Frank Evers Beddard
Those that are interesting as poisons are monamines, diamines, and the quaternary ammonium bases.Poisons: Their Effects and Detection|Alexander Wynter Blyth
It differed, therefore, from the quaternary race of the caverns of Belgium.
This is confirmed by the great changes which have taken place in the distribution of land and water since the quaternary period.Human Origins|Samuel Laing
A laboratory of vertebrate paleontology for formations other than the Quaternary.
British Dictionary definitions for quaternary (1 of 2)
noun plural -naries
Word Origin for quaternary
British Dictionary definitions for quaternary (2 of 2)
Word Origin and History 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.