Advertisement

quark (n.)

hypothetical subatomic particle having a fractional electric charge, 1964, applied by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019), who said in correspondence with the editors of the OED in 1978 that he took it from a word in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1939), but also that the sound of the word was in his head before he encountered the printed form in Joyce.

German Quark "curds, rubbish" has been proposed as the ultimate inspiration [Barnhart; Gell-Mann's parents were immigrants from Austria-Hungary]; it is from Old Church Slavonic tvarogu "curds, cottage cheese" (from a suffixed form of PIE root *teue- "to swell," source also of Greek tyros "cheese"). George Zweig, Gell-Mann's co-proposer of the theory, is said to have preferred the name ace for them.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Definitions of quark from WordNet

quark (n.)
(physics) hypothetical truly fundamental particle in mesons and baryons; there are supposed to be six flavors of quarks (and their antiquarks), which come in pairs; each has an electric charge of +2/3 or -1/3;
quarks have not been observed directly but theoretical predictions based on their existence have been confirmed experimentally
quark (n.)
fresh unripened cheese of a smooth texture made from pasteurized milk, a starter, and rennet;
Synonyms: quark cheese
From wordnet.princeton.edu