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(1)   A rectangular area surrounded on all sides by buildings
(2)   (printing) a block of type without a raised letter; used for spacing between words
(3)   A muscle of the thigh that extends the leg
(4)   One of four children born at the same time from the same pregnancy


  1. A quadrangle (courtyard).
  2. A quadruplet (infant).
  3. short for quadrilateral
  4. A quadriceps muscle.
  5. Four shots of espresso.
  6. A quad bike.

Etymology 2

1785 Quads. pl, 1847 quads, verb 1876. From the abbreviation , for obsolete . Keyboard command is named for the verb sense.


  1. A blank metal block used to fill short lines of type.
    • 1853, Charles Dickens, “Household Words”, n 160 (April 16), p 148:
       “Quadrats, sir. We call 'em quads.” . . . Quads are the spaces left between the paragraphs that come white on the paper. If you look here, at this page that is set-up, you will see that they are deeper than the spaces left between the words and letters—regular little trenches.
    • 1979, Marshall Lee, Bookmaking, p 110:
      Horizontal spacing is further divided into multiples and fractions of the em. The multiples are called quads. The fractions are called spaces.
    • 2005, Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam, Type & Typography, 2nd ed, p 91:
      Other larger spaces – known as quads – were used to space out lines.
  2. A joke used to fill long days of setting type.
  3. A keyboard command which aligns text with the left or right margin, or centred between them. In combination, as quad left, quad right, or quad centre.


  1. To fill spaces in a line of type with quads. Also quad out.
  2. To align text with the left or right margin, or centre it.