Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A representation of a flower with four petals or a leaf with four leaflets, especially in heraldry.
  • n. Architecture Tracery or an ornament with four foils or lobes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter.
  • n. A stylized flower or leaf with four lobes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A leaf with four leaflets, as sometimes that of clover.
  • n. In architecture, an opening or a panel divided by cusps or foliations into four foils, or, more correctly, the figure formed by the cusps.
  • n. In heraldry, a four-leaved grass, or leaf divided into four leaflets, used as a bearing.

Etymologies

Middle English quaterfoile : Old French quatre, four; see quatrain + Old French foil, leaf; see foil2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Above the quatrefoil is another representing the Redeemer seated on a cushioned throne with the Virgin, and below another representing St. Michael overcoming Satan.

    Chats on Old Lace and Needlework

  • Within the quatrefoil was a seated Figure, with something like scales in one hand, apparently representing our Lord in His glory.

    John Keble's Parishes

  • The hubby was researching our church's stained glass windows and told me, "They have this thing that I finally found out is called a 'quatrefoil', but I can't really find out anything about the symbollism..."

    A to Z: Q is for Quatrefoil

  • An indoor caf looking out on the courtyard boasts a welcoming marble fireplace with a bronze USC seal and a quatrefoil motif that carries over nicely into the decorative wall tiling.

    What George Lucas Wrought

  • From the vantage point of the bench, we can see in the center quatrefoil that each semi-circle contains a Calluna vulgaris ‘Sunset’.

    Foliage? In January? « Fairegarden

  • Last year it was decided after much careful pondering that after the grand display in spring of white viridiflora tulips the quadrants surrounding the center quatrefoil were just plain blah.

    Finial Fun In The Knot Garden « Fairegarden

  • It is in a stand by the arbor path and in the center quatrefoil of the knot garden.

    How To Make Lavender Wands « Fairegarden

  • At the top of these lancets is a small quatrefoil oculus or rose.

    Sensual Encounters: Monastic Women and Spirituality in Medieval Germany

  • The boy might have been five years old or seven; he was small and underfed, clad in a filthy tunic made from a grain sack stamped with a quatrefoil crest, with rags tied around his feet.

    Wildfire

  • Still in the knot garden, on the lavender laced quatrefoil center this hard working pollen jockey seems to have a pointy protuberance on his hind end.

    Bee Speed « Fairegarden

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A compound leaf or flower consisting of four (usually rounded) leaflets or petals radiating from a common centre; also, a representation or conventional imitation of this, esp. as a charge in Heraldry.

    February 6, 2007