Count On



"Four" in different languages
French German Russian Welsh Latin Greek
quatre vier chetyre pedwar quattor tessares


From the Latin for 4.

  • Four pigs If a mother gives birth to 4 babies at the same time, they are called quadruplets. What are they called if two are born at the same time? What about three babies?
  • A quad is an abbreviation for a quadrangle which, in mathematics, means a shape with four angles (and therefore with four straight sides) and, on a university campus, can mean a rectangular courtyard with buildings on 4 sides.
  • Confusingly, a quadratic equation in mathematics is an equation where the highest power of x, say, is two! This comes from the expansion of (x+b)(x+b) which gives four terms, the highest power being x2.

Can you find words for the following:

  1. If a biennial event is held every two years, what term is used for one like the Olympic games that is held every four years?
  2. Another mathematical terms for a shape with four (straight) sides?
  3. The name for a "square" dance with four people used in the eighteenth century?
  4. The name for animals that walk on four legs?
  5. The next term in this series: duplicate, triplicate, ..?
  6. What is a quarter of a circle called?


From the Latin for fourth: quarteus

  • A quarter means one fourth part as in a quarter of an hour. The moon changes from a full circle, to a half circle, to being invisible (dark) and then to a semi-circle again. These four stages are called the four quarters of the moon.
  • In America, one dollar is 100 cents and the 25 cents coin is called a quarter.
  • Meetings held quarterly and magazines issued quarterly occur four times a year (every three months or so).
  • It also refers to one of the four compass directions - north, south, east and west as in "From which quarter is the wind blowing?"
  • The final match in a tournament of games with two players or teams is preceded by the two semi-finals (to find the teams to play in the final) and, before that, there were four quarter-finals to find the four teams to play in the semi-finals.
  • A poem of 4 lines is called a quatrain.

Can you find words for the following:

  1. The name used for a group of 4 people who sing?
  2. Four times a year rent and other dues were paid on special days in England, Ireland and Wales and they were called quarter days. One of these was Michaelmas and another was Christmas. What are the names of the other two quarter days?
  3. The name for a size of paper used in books where a large sheet is folded into 4 (making 8 pages, one page on each side)?
  4. The name for two pints in the old English system (and still used in America) where there were 8 pints in a gallon?
  5. The American name for a musical note we call a crotchet?
  6. An old English word for 80 which refers to it as four twenties?

An unrelated word is quartz


From the Greek for 4.

  • A tetrarch is a ruler of one of 4 parts of a country.
  • A tetrahedron is a solid shape with four triangular sides.

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