One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A pimple, a pustule; a small boil. Now English regional (chiefly midlands).
2English regional (chiefly west midlands). An inflamed swelling on the edge of an eyelid; a sty.
A quaternary ammonium cation or salt, especially one used as a disinfectant, herbicide, or surfactant.
verbEnglish Regional, South-Western, Newfoundland, Welsh English
1To crouch down close to the ground, as an animal in hiding; to squat.
2with object To beat or press down; to squash, flatten; to crush.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in William Langham (fl. 1597), doctor and herbalist. Origin unknown<br>1940s. Shortened from quaternary. Compare earlier quaternary<br>late Middle English; earliest use found in Edward, Duke of York (fl. c1373–1415), magnate. From Middle French quatir, catir, coitir to hide (oneself), to crouch (used reflexively; 1200 in Old French), to hide, to fall to the ground, to beat (14th cent.; earliest with reference to the sound of a stork shutting its bill; compare also an apparently isolated use in sense ‘to thrust’; French catir to press, beat (in clothmaking and in gilding), French regional (northern and western) se catir, se coitir to hide oneself, to crouch), further etymology uncertain, perhaps ultimately from classical Latin coāctus compressed, compelled.
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