Definition of quern in US English:



  • A simple hand mill for grinding grain, typically consisting of two circular stones, the upper of which is rotated or rubbed to and fro on the lower one.

    • ‘Around 3500 BC the keeping of cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats began, along with weaving of cloth and making of pottery; later on came the growing, drying by fire, and milling in querns of grain.’
    • ‘A 19th century hand-powered barn winnowing machine using volunteers' muscle power will then separate the grain from the chaff before milling, using machines from replica Stone Age querns to a Bamford mill powered by a 1930 tractor.’
    • ‘Rotary querns, quantities of cattle bone, shellfish, and carbonized barley grains show the agricultural aspects of everyday life in the settlement.’
    • ‘The presence of the querns and a sparse but diverse collection of seeds from wheat, pulses, hackberry, olive, and grape suggest that this was an area where the final stage of food-processing took place, perhaps a kitchen.’
    • ‘Finds from the room included two querns, a handstone, an iron blade, a terracotta stopper, a loom weight, and a piece of a copper sheet, objects possibly associated with domestic functions.’
    grinder, crusher
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Old English cweorn(e), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse kvern and Dutch kweern.