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quagga
(KWAG-uh)

A zebralike animal of southern Africa, extinct since about 1870.

Here's a word every crossword-puzzler should know. Quagga may come from a native word meaning "striped."

"I'm afraid that this, too, may go the way of the quagga."

 

 


quidnunc

(KWID-nungk)

A nosy person; a busybody or gossip.

Here's a great one: Latin quid nunc literally means "What now?" This term for someone who's always asking "What now?" or "What's the news?" -- that is, an overly inquisitive person -- was first recorded in English in 1709.

"Oh yes, the condo is wonderful and you'll love the neighborhood, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn that you’ll be living next door to a pair of quidnuncs.”

 

 

 

quincunx

(KWIN-kungks)

Five objects arranged in the same pattern as the dots on the "5" side of a die.

If you're a crossword-puzzle fan, then you may already know that the ancient Romans used a coin they called an as. They also had a smaller coin that was worth only five-twelfths of an as. They called this coin a quincunx (from the Latin for "five-twelfths"). To distinguish it from other coins, the quincunx was marked with a pattern of five spots -- one in the middle and one in each of four corners.

The coin has disappeared, but the name of this distinctive pattern lives on, describing such things as an arrangement of trees in an orchard.

"White Castle hamburgers -- also known as 'sliders' or 'beef cookies' -- are square meat patties bearing five holes arranged in a quincunx, and topped with limp, greasy onions."

 

 


quotidian
(kwoh-TIHD-ee-uhn)

1. Everyday, commonplace, ordinary


2. Recurring daily.

This comes from the Latin quotidie meaning "each day."

"Celebrated today for the dazzling eloquence with which he inventoried Depression-era America, Walker Evans gave photography a whole new language, the vernacular of the quotidian." -- Vanity Fair

 

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