Four



[fawr, fohr] /fɔr, foʊr/

noun
1.
a cardinal number, three plus one.
2.
a symbol of this number, 4 or IV or IIII.
3.
a set of this many persons or things.
4.
a playing card, die face, or half of a domino face with four pips.
5.
fours, Jazz. alternate four-bar passages, as played in sequence by different soloists:
with guitar and piano trading fours.
6.
Automotive.

adjective
7.
amounting to four in number.
Idioms
8.
on all fours. (def 3).
/fɔː/
noun
1.
the cardinal number that is the sum of three and one
2.
a numeral, 4, IV, etc, representing this number
3.
something representing, represented by, or consisting of four units, such as a playing card with four symbols on it
4.
Also called four o’clock. four hours after noon or midnight
5.
(cricket)

6.
(rowing)

determiner
7.

n.

Old English feower, from Proto-Germanic *petwor- (cf. Old Saxon fiwar, Old Frisian fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch and German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor “four”), from PIE *kwetwer- “four” (cf. Sanskrit catvarah, Avestan čathwaro, Persian čatvar, Greek tessares, Latin quattuor, Oscan petora, Old Church Slavonic četyre, Lithuanian keturi, Old Irish cethir, Welsh pedwar). The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained.

Slang four-eyes “person who wears glasses” first recorded 1874. Four-letter word first attested 1934; four-letter man, however, is recorded from 1923 (as a euphemism for a shit). A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage with four horses driven by one person; in the sense of “loosely tied necktie” it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, cf. French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains euphemistic slang phrase for “a pack of cards” from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 “essential information” (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information.

Related Terms

ten-four
In addition to the idioms beginning with four
four corners of the earth, the

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