" See also GATHERING (2) [wh]
There appears to be a mispelled entry in the printed text for Quaternion, which is given as "quarternion". Under quire, a crossreference is given correctly to "QUATERNION", but is followed by what I believe to be an incorrect etymology: "The low-Latin word quarternum..." in place of "quaternum. See the OED under "quaternion" and "quire".
quire , sb.1 Forms: Α. 3 cwaer, quaer, 4-5 quayer, (5 -ere, qwayer, quaier), 4-6 quayre, (5 qwayre, qvayr), 5-6 qv-, quare, quair, 5-7 quaire, (6 qw-). Β. 6 quear(e, quere, 6-7 queere, 6-7 (9 dial.) queer. ↓. 6 quier, quyer, 5- quire. [a. OFr. quaer, quaier (later caier, mod. cahier a quire of six sheets, a copy-book, writing-book, etc.) = Prov. cazern, Ital. quaderno:-pop.L. *quaternum (med.L. quaternus, -um), f. L. quaternī. a set of four, f. quattuor four: see quaternion. The loss of the final -n in Fr. quaer for *quaern is normal; cf....[wh]
In response to a query on MEDTEXTL, an Internet mailing list devoted to the subjecti of "Medieval Text-- Philology, Codicology, and Technology etc.," Outi Merisalo provided the following:
Quaternion is the only right spelling for this word!!!!! It comes from the distributive numeral quater.
and later, in response to further inquiries
this quarternion (which is evidently based on the ordinal quartus) should indeed vanish. There should basically be some kind of project going on aiming at unifying codicological vocabulary - a very good French volume by Denis Muzerelle, Vocabulaire de codicologie came out in the middle of the 80s, and there were vague promises about corresponding things in German, English etc. So: quaternion, that gave cahier in French and quaderno in Italian!
Outi Merisalo Docent in Latin and Romance Philology Department of Romance Languages/Department of Classical Philology University of Helsinki PO Box 4 FIN-00014 University Of Helsinki Fax: +3580-191 2161
Other responses included the following:
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 1994 From: Dorothy C. Africa <CAFRICA@HULAW1.HARVARD.EDU> ... I ... noticed your query on the medtext list on quarternion. It appears to be a medieval coinage, yes? I notice that Latham Revised Medieval Latin Word-List gives citations for quarternio as early as 800..The refs. are under the headword quatern/a, -um. dca
And the following was posted to MEDTEXTL
From: Norman Hinton <hinton@EAGLE.SANGAMON.EDU> Subject: Re: Orthography question To: Multiple recipients of list MEDTEXTL <MEDTEXTL@UIUCVMD.BITNET> > > Quaternion is the only right spelling for this word!!!!! It comes from the > distributive numeral quater. Despite its etymology, Webster II lists "quarternion" as an alternate spelling in its list of archaic, uusual or obsolete terms at the bottom of the page (remember that feature, long vanished ?) I am not near a M-W III at the moment. But remember, just because a certain spelling is etymologically correct, English may very well pay no heed. I would use "quaternion: myself, but the -r- version has certainly been correct in the past. Professor Norman D. Hinton Department of English Sangamon State University Springfield, IL 62974-9243