You may not have danced a quadrille, a complicated dance that includes at least four pairs of dancers — because it reached its height of popularity in the mid-1800s.

Your language instincts probably push you towards the idea of squareness or fourdom when you see quad, and there are good reasons for both tendencies: the Latin quattuor lies behind many English words incorporating notions of "four" and "four corners." A quadrille, originally a card game for four people, morphed eventually to also mean a square dance for four couples.

Definitions of quadrille
  1. noun
    a square dance of 5 or more figures for 4 or more couples
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    a quadrille for 8 or 16 couples
    type of:
    square dance, square dancing
    American country dancing in which couples form squares
  2. noun
    music for dancing the quadrille
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    type of:
    dance music
    music to dance to
Word Family

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