Origin of quern

before 950; Middle English; Old English cweorn; akin to Old Norse kvern hand-mill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quern

Historical Examples of quern

  • He asked him for heaven's sake to take back the quern, and that at once.

    Children's Literature

    Charles Madison Curry

  • There stood his sisters by the quern, For the high-noon cakes they needs must earn.

    Poems by the Way

    William Morris

  • "It is the women singing and grinding at the quern," she said, and her feet went faster.

    The Basket Woman

    Mary Austin

  • In the Norse story of Frodi's quern, the myth assumes a whimsical shape.

  • But angels used to grind at the quern for Ciaran's sake on the day that was his.

British Dictionary definitions for quern


  1. a stone hand mill for grinding corn

Word Origin for quern

Old English cweorn; related to Old Frisian quern, Old High German kurn, Old Norse kverna, Gothic quairnus millstone
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 quern

Old English cweorn "hand-mill, mill," from PIE *gwere-na- "millstone" (cf. Old Norse kvern, Old Frisian quern, Old High German quirn, Gothic quirnus; Sanskrit grava "crushing stone;" Lithuanian girna "millstone," girnos "hand mills;" Old Church Slavonic zrunuvi "mills;" Welsh brevan "hand mill"), suffixed form of root *gwere- "heavy" (see grave (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper