The word doðrant (meaning "big and thick books") has been found in the Icelandic language from the 18th century. It appears in a manuscript-dictionary by Jón Ólafssonis from Grunnavíkis which is preserved at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. The script was written in Copenhagen in Denmark through the year 1734 until the day Jón died (1779). The words in the dictionary are written in Icelandic but with Latin explanations.
Jón believes the word was at the time used in the common speech and also that is is derived from Latin. The oldest example of this in the ritmálssafn in the Orðabók Háskólans (the university dictionary) are from the 19th century, and at that time the form of the word is doðrantur. Like Jón had guessed, the word is probably derived from the Latin word '' (meaning "3/4") which is it self from de quadrāns (meaning "from 1/4"). The the genitive of dōdrāns is dodrantis and has the word doðrant has adjusted to it.
It is most likely that the meaning of "3/4" has originally referred to the format or size of the book.
- ^ Icelandic Web of Science: Hvaðan kemur orðið doðrantur sem stundum er notað um þykkar bækur? (“What is the origin of the word doðrantur used to refer to thick books?”)