• Quality


    • IPA: /ˈkwɒl.ɪ.ti/, /ˈkwɑl.ɪ.ti/


    From Middle English, from Old French qualité, from Latin qualitatem, accusative of qualitas, from qualis ("of what kind"), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷo- ("who, how"). Cicero coined qualitas as a calque to translate the Ancient Greek word ποιότης (poiótes, "quality"), coined by Plato from ποῖος (poios, "of what nature, of what kind").

    Full definition of quality



    (countable and uncountable; plural qualitys)
    1. (uncountable) Level of excellenceThis school is well-known for having teachers of high quality.Quality of life is usually determined by health, education, and income.
      • Wodehouse Offing|I|“I'll tell you what you're going to do. Have you a clean shirt?” “Several.” “And a toothbrush?” “Two, both of the finest quality.” “Then pack them. You're coming to Brinkley tomorrow.”
    2. (countable) A property or an attribute that differentiates a thing or person.One of the qualities of pure iron is that it does not rust easily.While being impulsive can be great for artists, it is not a desirable quality for engineers.Security, stability, and efficiency are good qualities of an operating system.
      • Wodehouse Offing|XX|“That's life,” she said, and buzzed off to keep her vigil, leaving me kicking myself because I'd forgotten to say anything about the quality of mercy not being strained. It isn't, as I dare say you know, and a mention of this might just have done the trick.
    3. (archaic) High social position. (See also the quality.)A peasant is not allowed to fall in love with a lady of quality.Membership of this golf club is limited to those of quality and wealth.
    4. (uncountable) The degree to which a man-made object or system is free from bugs and flaws, as opposed to scope of functions or quantity of items.
    5. (thermodynamics) In a two-phase liquidvapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
    6. (emergency medicine, countable) The third step in OPQRST where the responder investigates what the NOI/MOI feels like.To identify quality try asking, "what does it feel like?".

    Usage notes

    Adjectives often applied to "quality":

    high, good, excellent, exceptional, great, outstanding, satisfactory, acceptable, sufficient, adequate,

    poor, low, bad, inferior, dubious,

    environmental, visual, optical, industrial, total, artistic, educational, physical, musical, chemical, spiritual, intellectual, architectural, mechanical.


    Coordinate terms

    • (a property that differentiates) quiddity

    Related terms



    1. Being of good worth, well made, fit for purpose.We only sell quality products.That was a quality game by Jim Smith.A quality system ensures products meet customer requirements.
      • a. 2003 Harriet (a Cambridge University student), quoted in John Ahier, John Beck, Rob Moore, Graduate Citizens?: Issues of Citizenship and Higher Education, Routledge (2003), ISBN 978-0-415-25722-0, page 114:I mean a lot of the money that obviously goes into universities and their libraries and their facilities and their academics and stuff but I mean I haven’t had a very quality degree to be honest. I think the quality of my education has been crap . . .
      • 2004, Vance M. Thompson, MD, in J. Kevin Belville and Ronald J. Smith (editors), LASIK Techniques: Pearls and Pitfalls, SLACK Incorporated, ISBN 978-1-55642-622-3, page 187:For one I wanted to have what I considered a very quality tracking device.
      • 2008, Carl Erskine, in Fay Vincent, We Would Have Played for Nothing: Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 978-1-4165-5342-7, page 144:A very quality ball club; that was the Braves.

    Derived terms

    Related terms

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