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Pronunciation: kwah'ter-nar'e, kwah-ter'ne-re


  1. Denoting a chemical compound containing four elements; NaHSO4.
  2. Fourth in a series.
  3. Relating to organic compounds in which some central atom is attached to four functional groups; applied to the usually trivalent nitrogen in its “onium” state, R4N+, “quaternary nitrogen.”
  4. Referring to a level of structure of macromolecules in which more than one biopolymer is present.

[L. quaternarius, fr. quaterni, four each, fr. quattuor, four, + -arius, adj. suffix]

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