One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An ancient Greek or Roman galley having four rowers for each set of oars.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in William Harrison (1535–1593), historian and topographer. From classical Latin quadrirēmis type of galley, probably one with four rowers to every ‘room’, in post-classical Latin also as adjective from quadri- + rēmus oar, perhaps partly via Middle French quadrireme.
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