One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Wood cleft in four; quartered wood.
2A ‘half-cracked’ person, one who is foolish or crazy. Now Irish English (northern).
Of timber: cut from the centre to the edge, cut into quarter clefts.
Mid 16th century. From quarter + either cleft or cleft.
quarter cleft/ˈkwɔːtə ˌklɛft/
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