Definition for Q


is the seventeenth letter of the English Alphabet; an articulation borrowed from the oriental koph or qoph, Ch. and Heb. ק, Samaritan ק‎‎, Syriac ܩ, Arabic ق kaf. It is supposed to be an articulation more deeply guttural than that of K; indeed it may have been pronounced as we pronounce qu; for we observe that in the Latin language, from which the moderns have borrowed the letter, it is always followed by u, as it is in English. This letter is not in the Greek alphabet. In our mother tongue, the Anglo-Saxon, this letter is not used; but in the place of qu, cu, or more generally, cw is used; as in cwic, quick; cwen, queen. This letter is superfluous; for ku or koo, in English, have precisely the same sounds as qu. It is alledged that in expressing q, the cheeks are contracted, and the lips put into a canular form, for the passage of the breath; circumstances which distinguish it from k. This appears to be a mistake. This position of the organs is entirely owing to the following letter u; and kuestion and question are pronounced precisely alike, and with the same configuration of the organs. For qu in English, the Dutch use kw, the Germans qu, the Swedes and the Danes qv, which answer to our kw. The Gothic has a character which answers to qu. It appears then that q is precisely k, with this difference in use, that q is always followed by u in English, and k is not. Q never ends an English word. Its name cue, is said to be from the French queue, a tail. As a numeral, Q stands for 500, and with a dash, Q̅, for 500,000. Used as an abbreviation, Q. stands for quantity or quantum; as, among physicians, q. pl. quantum placet, as much as you please; q. s. quantum sufficit, as much as is required, or as is sufficient. Among mathematicians, Q. E. D. stand for quod erat demonstrandum, which was to be demonstrated; Q. E. F. quod erat faciendum, which was to be done. In the notes of the ancients, Q. stands for Quintus or Quintius; Quint. for Quiutilius; and Quæs. for quæstor. In English, Q. is an abbreviation for question.

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