Definition of quality in US English:



  • 1The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.

    ‘an improvement in product quality’
    ‘the hospital ranks in the top tier in quality of care’
    • ‘As no standard accepted instrument measures sleep quality, we used effect sizes of the change in scores.’
    • ‘Intermediate measures of quality of health care remained unchanged or improved slightly.’
    • ‘Territories differ in quality, measured in terms of insect prey availability.’
    • ‘A number of questions about the clinical utility of quality of life measures remain unanswered.’
    • ‘If it were restricted to a few sniggers among the public at large about the academic quality of these degrees, it wouldn't be too bad.’
    • ‘From the time it is installed until the day it is replaced, the product will reduce in quality in a linear fashion.’
    • ‘It is pity to see people going after food by smell and taste, ignoring the standard or quality of the products.’
    • ‘Inspectors would not aim to reward excellence or to measure quality, merely to identify incompetence or fraud.’
    • ‘If the page count of a book were a measure of its quality, or of how much I am likely to enjoy it, then it would make sense to play those odds.’
    • ‘This speaks volumes about the perceived quality of the product compared to competing offerings at the moment.’
    • ‘The report is based on a widely recognised formula, the Gini coefficient, that measures quality of life.’
    • ‘Since degree results are now a measure of teaching quality, there's an incentive to give better scores.’
    • ‘This statistic provides an easily interpretable measure of the relative quality of the two model fits.’
    • ‘The basic problem, of course, is of valuing a non-marketed product and of measuring its quality.’
    • ‘Over the past number of years the parade has been of mixed quality with varying degrees of participation from all sectors.’
    • ‘This is, of course, a measure of the design integrity and manufacturing quality of each new product category.’
    • ‘Keep a to-do list of basics that must be done every day to ensure your galley maintains a high degree of quality.’
    • ‘There were no consistent data supporting the use of readmission rates as a measure of quality of care.’
    • ‘These laws also provide the consumer with detailed information on the origin and quality of the product.’
    • ‘The NHS is using the extra £5.9bn to good effect, with major improvements in quality and quantity.’
    standard, grade, class, classification, calibre, status, condition, character, nature, constitution, make-up, form, rank, worth, value, level
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    1. 1.1 General excellence of standard or level.
      ‘a masterpiece for connoisseurs of quality’
      as modifier ‘a wide choice of quality beers’
      • ‘The design community should push the boundaries and bring the standard of quality to a higher level.’
      • ‘The quality and skill levels are unrivalled among their previous equals.’
      • ‘People will want to buy stuff with a high level of quality.’
      • ‘Some might say that gatekeepers such as editors guarantee a certain level of quality among print publications that is lacking on the web.’
      • ‘As usual, Hawks maintains a high level of musical quality all the way through, ensuring perfect consistency from start to finish.’
      • ‘This bag is extremely well made, well padded and gives you a general feeling of quality.’
      • ‘Yorkshire is one of the nation's richest agricultural regions, producing vast quantities of quality food’
      • ‘Poor general quality and finishing are the usual indicators of fake toys and parents are advised to buy from recognised retailers.’
      • ‘And build quality in general seems to be up to Volkswagen's very best traditions.’
      • ‘With any luck, they'll be able to sustain this level of quality when the gang end up in Arizona.’
      • ‘Check the whisky again to be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.’
      • ‘The award honored his efforts leading to reinstating quality science education standards in Kansas.’
      • ‘Most significant is the fact that Shanghai Automobile Industrial Company gained this level of quality through co-operation.’
      • ‘Having said that, the guest list on Prototype ensures a certain level of quality.’
      • ‘I think that we work to keep a certain level of quality with what we do.’
      • ‘It is built to very high levels of quality, and the fit and finish is worthy of a much more expensive Audi model.’
      • ‘It used to be a general comment that quality and standards are causalities in herbal drug development.’
      • ‘However, he says that Equinox offers the same level of quality that members have in the rest of their lives.’
      • ‘The styling and general quality of construction adds to this impression.’
      • ‘This series delivers a remarkably high level of visual quality within its constraints.’
      excellence, superiority, merit, worth, value, virtue, calibre, eminence, pre-eminence, supremacy, transcendence, distinction, refinement, incomparability, account
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    2. 1.2archaic High social standing.
      ‘commanding the admiration of people of quality’
      • ‘Women were starting to make their voices heard and one of them, Mary Cowper De Grey, recounts the story of a group of ladies of quality who are determined to make Shakespeare fashionable.’
      • ‘It must be noted that, in 1709, Jonathan Swift found little discipline at the universities and little learning amongst the gentlemen of high quality.’
      • ‘Diamonds and handsome jewels are never worn in the street nor in travelling by Englishwomen of quality, who consider that such ornaments should be reserved for the evening or for large and gay occasions.’
      • ‘Thus, we find descriptions of the professional nurses as “women of quality, sensible, kindly, home-makers, endowed with sympathy, brains, and tact.”’
      • ‘Tague shows how this rhetoric, although often seen as representing the rise of middle class ideology, was in fact adopted and exploited by wealthy, fashionable ‘women of quality’.’
    3. 1.3archaic treated as plural People of high social standing.
      ‘he's dazed at being called on to speak before quality’
      • ‘‘Aren't you ashamed to expose yourself before quality in that way?” said his wife, in an angry tone.’
      • ‘"But he does want it all the same, very bad - don't you, Jem? - only, you see, he's dazed at being called on to speak before quality."’
  • 2A distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.

    ‘he shows strong leadership qualities’
    ‘the plant's aphrodisiac qualities’
    • ‘Nowadays it is the refugee to whom we attribute the qualities of fatefulness, tragedy, and loss.’
    • ‘It's a triangular route, taking in the raised ground at the join of two valleys, and each side has distinctive qualities.’
    • ‘Bizarrely, only six items describe the unique qualities that distinguish a doctor from other healthcare workers.’
    • ‘The mirror-like quality of standing water may have had symbolic implications too.’
    • ‘Ralph's superior leadership qualities are reflected in his constant defence of Piggy.’
    • ‘Lack of charisma, timidity and humility seem to be the criteria that negate strong leadership qualities.’
    • ‘Strong character and the right attitude, allied to skill, team spirit and a work ethic are all qualities he attributes to his new charges.’
    • ‘Reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, the plant resembles fennel, and used to be collected for sale at London markets.’
    • ‘He has the right fundamental qualities for national leadership and that is why I commend him to all Conservatives.’
    • ‘Much of our evidence for ancient philosophy has a similarly accidental quality, and has come down to us in fragments.’
    • ‘The idea of ‘innocence’ is a central quality in the social construction of childhood.’
    • ‘He showed strong leadership qualities and organisational skills.’
    • ‘The quality of standing behind and extending support to any social cause often goes silently unnoticed.’
    • ‘To say of Socrates that he is human is to say what he is, whereas to say that he is literate is not to say what he is but rather to give a quality that he has.’
    • ‘Of the qualities associated with the color blue, trust and faith rank high.’
    • ‘By contrast, the female characters are sparsely developed and possess few redeeming qualities.’
    • ‘Reg was a most popular man, admired for his leadership qualities and sincere dedication to everything he tackled.’
    • ‘There is an interesting quality of delicacy attributed to Elizabeth.’
    • ‘As a class, we openly discussed why these qualities are valued in boys and girls.’
    • ‘It seems incredibly stupid and as yet I cannot find one redeeming quality in this story.’
    feature, trait, attribute, characteristic, point, aspect, facet, side, streak, property, peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, quirk
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    1. 2.1Phonetics The distinguishing characteristic or characteristics of a speech sound.
      • ‘The categorical versus the gradient quality of nasalization in Sundanese versus English indicated that nasalization is indeed phonological in Sundanese and phonetic in English.’
      • ‘Coco has alliterative and assonantal qualities that also make it memorable from an aural standpoint.’
      • ‘The writing system doesn't separate the quality of the vowel from its nasalization.’
      • ‘In musical terms, the pitch of the note is always the same but the tonal quality can be adjusted.’
    2. 2.2Music
      another term for timbre
    3. 2.3Astrology Any of three properties (cardinal, fixed, or mutable), representing types of movement, that a zodiacal sign can possess.
      • ‘Those influenced by a mutable quality in their horoscope also enjoy learning, play fair and are diplomatic and well-liked by others.’
      • ‘In vedic astrology, Virgo has some qualities of air, because mercury is considered an airy planet for them.’
      • ‘Each and every sign of the zodiac is associated with both an element and a quality.’
      • ‘A cardinal quality is attached to the signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘character, disposition’ and ‘particular property or feature’): from Old French qualite, from Latin qualitas (translating Greek poiotēs), from qualis ‘of what kind, of such a kind’.