The letter Q is derived from the Greek koppa and Semitic qoph. The original meaning of qoph is most likely a “cord of wool” and the original representation, a knot. Another suggestion is that Q represented the eye of a needle with a thread. A similar word in Arabic suggests that it might mean “nape” and represent the back of a head and nape of the neck. Yet another suggestion is that Q represents a monkey. I rather like that one.
Q is for quatrain and quintain
In poetry, a quatrain is a four-line stanza and a quintain (or quintet) is a five-line stanza. These are usually part of a longer poem and may be variously rhymed.
There is something quieter than sleep
Within this inner room!
It wears a sprig upon its breast,
And will not tell its name.
— Emily Dickinson, from “Time and Eternity”
- Write your own quatrain or quintain using at least one Q word. Which form is easier to write?
Special reading assignment
- The quintessential quiet in the quarter acre was accentuated by the murmur of quaking aspens.