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From Spanish cuarterón (¾ white, a child of a European and a mestizo), from cuarto (one-fourth) + -on (-oon: forming related nouns), from Latin quartus (one-fourth). Doublet of cuarteron.


quadroon (plural quadroons)

  1. (dated, chiefly historical) A person considered three-fourths white, having one non-white grandparent.
    • 1869, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, chapter 47, in Little Women: [], part second, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, →OCLC:
      There were slow boys and bashful boys, feeble boys and riotous boys, boys that lisped and boys that stuttered, one or two lame ones, and a merry little quadroon, who could not be taken in elsewhere, but who was welcome to the ‘Bhaer-garten’, though some people predicted that his admission would ruin the school.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, Chapter V, p. 63; Chapter VIII, p. 120 [1]
      Diana was a black quadroon, her father being a blackfellow.
      He was the father of four quadroons who were regarded as half-castes because the lighter part of their mother's blood was Asiatic, and he was only too well aware of what their future would be should he desert them.

Usage notes[edit]

In Latin America, originally concerned with people considered one-fourth Native American but, in US contexts, chiefly used with regard to people considered one-fourth black. In Australia, chiefly used for those regarded as one-fourth aboriginal.

Coordinate terms[edit]


quadroon (not comparable)

  1. (dated, chiefly historical) Of or related to quadroons.