Definition of quire in US English:



  • 1Four sheets of paper or parchment folded to form eight leaves, as in medieval manuscripts.

    • ‘But I did have the trimmings from the quires the monks made to make tiny booklets of my own.’
    • ‘Pages printed on one or both sides, gathered into quires or folios, superseded papyrus and parchment rolls in the fourth century CE.’
    • ‘These quires are then bound together in the correct order to produce the book.’
    • ‘Finally, the quires of pages are bound between two wooden covers and the spine is tied with damp leather.’
    • ‘These, too, were the work of several artists working simultaneously on numbers of quires on details such as historiated initials, bas-de-page and marginal illustrations, and line endings.’
    1. 1.1 Any collection of leaves one within another in a manuscript or book.
      ‘the scribe numbered the quires of his manuscript as well as the leaves’
      • ‘Some of the resulting changes in practice, such as the systematic marking up of quires by scribes for assembly by the libraire, are of great value to the codicologist in reconstructing the original order of the manuscript.’
    2. 1.2 25 (formerly 24) sheets of paper; one twentieth of a ream.
      ‘the package contained two quires of tracing paper’
      • ‘There's only so many pens and packs of post-its to go round, so if you want something exotic like a stamp pad or a quire of photo-copy paper, get in with your order fast.’
      • ‘This is Franklin's workshop; its shelves are heaped with junk: quires of paper, rags, hammers, tongs, bottles, wires, books, old shoes, rolls of leather, bones, feathers.’
      • ‘Myra had enclosed a quire of writing paper and three bottles of ink, no excuses for not writing now.’


Middle English: from Old French quaier, from Latin quaterni ‘set of four’.