Etymology
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quack (v.)

"to make a duck sound; utter a harsh, flat, croaking cry," 1610s, earlier quake (late 14c.), variant of quelke (early 14c.), all of echoic origin (compare Middle Dutch quacken, Old Church Slavonic kvakati, Latin coaxare "to croak," Greek koax "the croaking of frogs," Hittite akuwakuwash "frog").

In the same line of Chaucer, various early editions have it as quake, quakke, quak, quat. Frequentative form quackle is attested from 1560s. Middle English on the quakke (14c.) meant "hoarse, croaking." The sense of "talk or advertise noisily and ostentatiously" (1650s) might show influence of quack (n.1). Related: Quacked; quacking.

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quack (n.2)

"duck sound; a harsh, croaking cry," 1839, from quack (v.). Earlier it meant "hoarseness, croaking" (late 14c.). Quack-quack as a nursery name for a duck is attested by 1865 (quack-quack-quack in that sense is by 1825).

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quack (n.1)

"medical charlatan, impudent and fraudulent pretender to medical skill," 1630s, short for quacksalver (1570s), from obsolete Dutch quacksalver (modern kwakzalver), literally "hawker of salve," from Middle Dutch quacken "to brag, boast," literally "to croak" (see quack (v.)) + salf "salve," salven "to rub with ointment" (see salve (n.)). As an adjective from 1650s.

The oldest attested form of this quack in English is as a verb, "to play the quack" (1620s). The Dutch word also is the source of German Quacksalber, Danish kvaksalver, Swedish kvacksalvare.

A quack is, by derivation, one who talks much without wisdom, and, specifically, talks of his own power to heal ; hence, any ignorant pretender to medical knowledge or skill. Empiric is a more elevated term for one who goes by mere experience in the trial of remedies, and is without knowledge of the medical sciences or of the clinical observations and opinions of others; hence, an incompetent, self-confident practitioner. A mountebank is generally a quack, but may be a pretender in any line. Charlatan (literally 'chatterer') is primarily applied, not to a person belonging to any particular profession or occupation, but to a pretentious cheat of any sort. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

 Also "one who pretends to knowledge of any kind" (1630s).

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quacker (n.)

"a duck," 1846, agent noun from quack (v.).

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quackery (n.)

"the boastful pretensions or knavish practice of a quack, particularly in medicine" [Century Dictionary], 1690s, from quack (n.1) + -ery.

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quacksalver (n.)

"one who boasts of skill in medicines, a medical charlatan," 1570s; see quack (n.1). The back-formed verb quacksalve (c. 1600) did not thrive.

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quad 

1820 as a shortening of quadrangle (n.) in the building-court sense (in this case "quadrangle of a college," Oxford student slang); also in old slang the quadrangle of a jail or prison, where prisoners take their exercise. By 1880 as short for the printer's quadrat (n.). By 1896 as "a quadricycle, a bicycle for four riders" (quadricycle is attested by 1879, quadruplet in this sense by 1893). As "one of four young at a single birth" by 1951 (in reference to armadillos), short for quadruplet; 1970 as a shortening of quadraphonic (adj.). Related: Quads.

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Quadragesima (n.)

"Lent," c. 1600, from Medieval Latin quadragesima (dies) "the fortieth (day)," altered diminutive of Latin quadrigesimus "fortieth," from quadriginta "forty," related to quattuor "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four"). So called because it lasts forty days. Earlier in English in nativized form Quadragesime (mid-15c.). Related: Quadragesimal. Via the Vulgar Latin form *quaragesima come Old French quaresme, Modern French carême, Spanish cuaresma, Italian quaresima, also ultimately Irish carghas, Gaelic carghus, Welsh garaways.

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quadrangle (n.)

late 14c., "a plane figure having four angles; a rectangle, square, etc.," from Old French quadrangle (13c.) and directly from Late Latin quadrangulum "four-sided figure," noun use of neuter of Latin adjective quadrangulus "having four corners," from Latin quattuor "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four") + angulus "angle" (see angle (n.)). Meaning "four-sided court nearly surrounded by buildings" is from 1590s.

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quadrangular (adj.)

"four-cornered, four-sided," early 15c., quadrangulere, from Medieval Latin quadrangularis "having four corners," from Late Latin quadrangulus "having four angles" (see quadrangle). Related: Quadrangularly.

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