• synonyms


[kwahyuh r]
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  1. a set of 24 uniform sheets of paper.
  2. Bookbinding. a section of printed leaves in proper sequence after folding; gathering.
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Origin of quire1

1175–1225; Middle English quayer < Middle French quaier < Vulgar Latin *quaternum set of four sheets, derivative of Latin quarternī four each


[kwahyuh r]
noun, verb (used with or without object), quired, quir·ing.
  1. Archaic. choir.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quires

Historical Examples

  • I am to send him the quires as fast as I finish them off, and the first is now in his hands.

    The Works of William Cowper

    William Cowper

  • Only two quires are now remaining: the handwriting is not the same, but similar.

    The Oxford Reformers

    Frederic Seebohm

  • There were reams of well-meant advice and quires of threats of violence.

    Mlle. Fouchette

    Charles Theodore Murray

  • In the 11th century catch-words were used to show the connection of the quires.

    Books Before Typography

    Frederick W. Hamilton

  • Stationers used to let out on hire parts of books or quires.

British Dictionary definitions for quires


  1. a set of 24 or 25 sheets of paper; a twentieth of a ream
    1. four sheets of paper folded once to form a section of 16 pages
    2. a section or gathering
  2. a set of all the sheets in a book
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Word Origin

C15 quayer, from Old French quaier, from Latin quaternī four at a time, from quater four times


  1. an obsolete spelling of choir
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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 quires



c.1200, "set of four folded pages for a book; pamphlet consisting of a single quire," from Anglo-French quier, Old French quaier "sheet of paper folded in four," from Vulgar Latin *quaternus, from Latin quaterni "four each," from quater "four times." Meaning "standard unit for selling paper" first recorded late 14c. In quires (late 15c.) means "unbound."

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early form and later variant spelling of choir (q.v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper