One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A quire of paper; = "quaternion"; (hence); a pamphlet; a small book.
2Chiefly in form quaterne. A set of four numbers, counters, etc., drawn in a lottery or game of chance. Chiefly in French contexts.
Mid 16th century. In sense 1 from Middle French quaterne pamphlet, register, quire and its etymon post-classical Latin quaternus (also quaternum) booklet, quire, use as singular noun of classical Latin quaternus, singular form corresponding to quaternī four each, set of four; compare earlier quire.
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