1. A group or set of four.
2. A tetravalent atom, radical, or element.
a. A four-part structure that forms during the prophase of meiosis and consists of two homologous chromosomes, each composed of two sister chromatids.
b. A group of four haploid cells, such as spores, formed by meiotic division of one mother cell.
[Greek tetras, tetrad-; see kwetwer- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.