" See also GATHERING (2) [wh]

There appears to be a mispelled entry in the printed text for Quaternion, which is given as "quarternion". Under quire, a crossreference is given correctly to "QUATERNION", but is followed by what I believe to be an incorrect etymology: "The low-Latin word quarternum..." in place of "quaternum. See the OED under "quaternion" and "quire".

     quire , sb.1 Forms: Α. 3 cwaer, quaer, 4-5 quayer, (5 -ere,
     qwayer, quaier), 4-6 quayre, (5 qwayre, qvayr), 5-6 qv-, quare,
     quair, 5-7 quaire, (6 qw-).  Β. 6 quear(e, quere, 6-7 queere,
     6-7 (9 dial.) queer.  ↓. 6 quier, quyer, 5- quire. [a. OFr.
     quaer, quaier (later caier, mod. cahier a quire of six sheets, a
     copy-book, writing-book, etc.) = Prov. cazern, Ital.
     quaderno:-pop.L. *quaternum (med.L. quaternus, -um), f. L.
     quaternī. a set of four, f. quattuor four: see quaternion.  The
     loss of the final -n in Fr. quaer for *quaern is normal; cf....
[wh]

In response to a query on MEDTEXTL, an Internet mailing list devoted to the subjecti of "Medieval Text-- Philology, Codicology, and Technology etc.," Outi Merisalo provided the following:

    Quaternion is the only right spelling for this word!!!!!  It comes
    from the distributive numeral quater.

and later, in response to further inquiries

 this quarternion (which is evidently based on the ordinal quartus)
    should indeed vanish.  There should basically be some kind of
    project going on aiming at unifying codicological vocabulary - a
    very good French volume by Denis Muzerelle, Vocabulaire de
    codicologie came out in the middle of the 80s, and there were vague
    promises about corresponding things in German, English etc.
    So: quaternion, that gave cahier in French and quaderno in Italian!

Outi Merisalo
Docent in Latin and Romance Philology Department of Romance
    Languages/Department of Classical Philology
University of Helsinki
PO Box 4
FIN-00014
University Of Helsinki
Fax: +3580-191 2161

Other responses included the following:

Date: Wed, 02 Feb 1994
From: Dorothy C. Africa <CAFRICA@HULAW1.HARVARD.EDU>
... I ... noticed your query on the medtext list on quarternion.  It
appears to be a medieval coinage, yes? I notice that Latham Revised
Medieval Latin Word-List gives citations for quarternio as early as
800..The refs. are  under the headword quatern/a, -um. dca

And the following was posted to MEDTEXTL

From: Norman Hinton <hinton@EAGLE.SANGAMON.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Orthography question
To: Multiple recipients of list MEDTEXTL <MEDTEXTL@UIUCVMD.BITNET>
>
> Quaternion is the only right spelling for this word!!!!!  It comes from the
> distributive numeral quater.
Despite its etymology, Webster II lists "quarternion" as an alternate
spelling in its list of archaic, uusual or obsolete terms at the bottom of
the page (remember that feature, long vanished ?)  I am not near a M-W III
at the moment. But remember, just because a certain spelling is
etymologically correct, English may very well pay no heed.
I would use "quaternion: myself, but the -r- version has certainly been
correct in the past.
Professor Norman D. Hinton
Department of English
Sangamon State University
Springfield, IL  62974-9243




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