General English


  • noun an instance of the ball crossing the boundary after bouncing at least once, especially when hit by the batsman but also as a bye, wide, or leg-bye, or as the result of an overthrow. The umpire signals a four to the scorers by waving the hand from side to side, and four runs are added to the score of the batsman or team as appropriate.
    See boundary


  • masculine oven

Origin & History of “four”

The distant Indo-European ancestor of English four was *qwetwōr-, which also produced Latin quattuor (whence French quatre, Italian quattro, Spanish cuatro, etc), Greek téssares, Sanskrit catvāras, Russian chetvero, and Welsh pedwar. Its Germanic descendant was *petwor-, from which come German and Dutch vier, Swedish fyra, and English four. Amongst the word’s perhaps more surprising relatives in English are carfax ‘crossroads’ (ultimately from a post-classical Latin compound which meant literally ‘four forks’), quarantine (denoting etymologically a ‘period of 40 days’), quire ‘set of four sheets of paper’, and trapeze (literally ‘four-footed’).