1. One of four equal parts into which anything is divided, or is regarded as divided; a fourth part or portion; as, a quarter of a dollar, of a pound, of a yard, of an hour, etc. Hence, specifically: The fourth of a hundred-weight, being 25 or 28 pounds, according as the hundredweight is reckoned at 100 or 112 pounds.
When two coats of arms are united upon one escutcheon, as in case of marriage, the first and fourth quarters display one shield, the second and third the other. See Quarter. One of the four parts into which the horizon is regarded as divided; a cardinal point; a direction' principal division; a region; a territory. Scouts each coast light-armed scour, Each quarter, to descry the distant foe. (milton)
2. Proper station; specific place; assigned position; special location. Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements. (milton) Hence, specifically: A station at which officers and men are posted in battle; usually in the plural.
treatment shown by an enemy; mercy; especially, the act of sparing the life a conquered enemy; a refraining from pushing one's advantage to extremes. He magnified his own clemency, now they were at his mercy, to offer them quarter for their lives. (Clarendon) Cocks and lambs . . . At the mercy of cats and wolves . . . Must never expect better quarter. (L'Estrange)
3. Friendship; amity; concord. To keep quarter, to keep one's proper place, and so be on good terms with another. In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom. (Shak) I knew two that were competitors for the secretary's place, . . . And yet kept good quarter between themselves. (bacon) false quarter, a cleft in the quarter of a horse's foot. Fifth quarter, the hide and fat; a butcher's term. On the quarter, to accept as prisoner, on submission in battle; to forbear to kill, as a vanquished enemy. To keep quarter. See Quarter.
Origin: F. Quartier, L. Quartarius a fourth part, fr. Quartus the fourth. See Quart.