General English

General Science

  • noun a place where rock is removed from the ground for commercial purposes
  • verb to remove rock from the ground for commercial purposes


  • An open excavation in the surface of the earth for mining stone.


  • noun a place where stone is extracted from the ground

Origin & History of “quarry”

Quarry from which stone is extracted (15th c.) and quarry which one hunts (14th c.) are quite different words. The former was borrowed from Old French quarriere, a derivative of *quarre ‘square stone’. This went back to Latin quadrum ‘square’, which was based on the stem quadr- ‘four’, source of English quadrangle, quadrant, quadruped, etc. The sort of quarry that is pursued came from Anglo-Norman *quire or *quere, which denoted ‘entrails of a killed deer given to the hounds to eat’. This went back to Old French cuiree, which was an alteration of an earlier couree or coree. And this in turn was descended from vulgar Latin *corāta ‘entrails’, a derivative of Latin cor ‘heart’. The present-day sense of the English word emerged in the 15th century.