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See also: Quine



Decapitalization of Quine. Named after philosopher and logician Willard Van Orman Quine. Senses related to self-reference are coined by Douglas Hofstadter in 1979 in his book Gödel, Escher, Bach (referencing the paradox named after him), while the verb sense of “to deny the importance or significance of something” was independently coined by Daniel Dennett in 1978 in The Philosophical Lexicon.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /kwaɪn/
  • (file)


quine (plural quines)

  1. (computing) A program that produces its own source code as output.
    • 1994, John David Regehr, “a quine in C++?”, in comp.lang.misc[1] (Usenet):
      This has been bugging me recently. Any quines or pointers to relevant articles or web pages is appreciated. Thanks!
    • 1999, Gergo Barany, “Re: CC hack?”, in comp.lang.c[2] (Usenet):
      There was also a quine thread here in comp.lang.c just days ago, search deja.com (the thread's title was something about self-printing programs, I think).
    • 2002, Clinton Pierce, Perl Developer's Dictionary, Sams Publishing, →ISBN, page 269:
      Most quines are notoriously difficult (and fiendish) to write. Perl can cheat, though. :)
    • 2003, Arthur J. O'Dwyer, “Re: "A to Z of C"”, in comp.lang.c[3] (Usenet):
      Why have a one-page chapter that doesn't say anything? At the least, you should present a quine program written in pure ISO C (I can send you one if you like); []
    • 2004, David Darling, The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno's Paradoxes, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 264:
      Although writing a quine is not always easy, and in fact may seem impossible, it can always be done in any programming language that is Turing complete (see Turing machine), which includes every programming language actually in use.
    • 2005, Simon Cozens, Advanced Perl Programming, O'Reilly Media, →ISBN, page 260:
      SelfGOL can reproduce itself; it can turn other programs into a quine; it can display a scrolling banner; it plays the Game of Life; and it contains no (ordinary) loops, goto statements, or if statements. Control flow is done, well, interestingly.
    • 2008, Uwe Seifert, Jin-hyun Kim, Anthony Moore, Paradoxes of Interactivity: Perspectives for Media Theory, Human-computer Interaction, and Artistic Investigations, transcript Verlag, →ISBN, page 179:
      Yet from a different perspective, it describes the process of producing this very code; in other words, it is because object- and meta-language interrelate that makes a quine difficult; in less reflective programs, where means and ends are more separate, this difficulty is not so obvious.
    • 2009, Mike Ash, Re: 406 Not Acceptable (was Re: "--All You Zombies--" title), rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet
      Gee, last time I wrote a quine in Lisp it ended up being kind of difficult...
    • 2011, Antoine Amarilli et al., “Can Code Polymorphism Limit Information Leakage?”, in Claudio Agostino Ardagna, Jianying Zhou, editors, Information Security Theory and Practice: Security and Privacy of Mobile Devices in Wireless Communication[4], Springer, →ISBN, page 14:
      The solution is to make a quine that is also a λ-expression (instead of a list of statements). This is possible, thanks to S-expressions. The way the quine works relies on the fact that its code is a list of statements and that the last one can take a list of the previous ones as arguments.
    • 2012, Pietro Liò, Dinesh Verma, Biologically Inspired Networking and Sensing: Algorithms and Architectures, IGI Global Snippet, →ISBN:
      Quines exist for any programming language that is Turing complete and it is a common challenge for students to come up with a Quine in their language of choice. The Quine Page provides a comprehensive list of such programs in various languages.
    • 2013, Brian, “[//groups.google.com/d/msg/talk.religion.buddhism/Denn9TZywdo/edWL0Sat5cwJ Re: "Mountains will be Mountains"]”, in talk.religion.buddhism (Usenet):
      Upon receiving a "QUINE" request by the client, the server will first send a 01 OK response, and will then provide the client with a quine in the programming language used to implement the server.



quine (third-person singular simple present quines, present participle quining, simple past and past participle quined)

  1. (philosophy) To deny the existence or significance of something obviously real or important.
    • 1993, Howard Margolis, Paradigms and Barriers: How Habits of Mind Govern Scientific Beliefs, University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 62:
      As with the puzzle of what happens during the combustion of a metal in pure oxygen (the "steel wool" experiment), this result can of course be quined. Taking the phlogistic view, we could say that the calx requires the same phlogiston content as the metal, so of course the amount of water absorbed must be in accord with that.
    • 1999, Denis Fisette, Consciousness and Intentionality: Models and Modalities of Attribution, Springer, →ISBN, page 119:
      They deny that mental states and events actually possess the qualitative properties attributed to them by qualia friends and, as a consequence, they advocate quining qualia.
    • 2000, Don Ross, Introduction: The Dennettian Stance in 2000, Don Ross, Andrew Brook and David Thompson, Dennett’s Philosophy: A Comprehensive Assessment, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, page 14:
      Qualia are quined not because Dennett imagines that there is nothing it is like to be conscious, but because no clear demarcation can be drawn between representations of qualitative properties and representations of other sorts of states.
    • 2001, Nenad Miscevic, “Quining the apriori”, in A. Orenstein, P. Kotatko, editors, Knowledge, Language and Logic: Questions for Quine, Springer, →ISBN, page 95:
    • 2003, W. Martin Davies, The Philosophy of Sir William Mitchell (1861-1962): A Mind's Own Place, Edwin Mellen Press Limited, page 182:
      Structure in the phenomenological realm is not something to be “quined”, but fostered.
    • 2003, Roy Sorensen, A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind, Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 357:
      Daniel Dennett's The Philosophical Lexicon defines "quine" as a verb: "to deny the existence or significance of something real or significant". Quine has quined names, intentions, and the distinction between psychology and epistemology. In 1951 Quine quined the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements.
    • 2008, Daniel Barnett, Movement as Meaning: In Experimental Film, Rodopi, →ISBN, page 114:
      The private language machine and the evolution of a medium: One of the things that Wittgenstein is most famous for is quining "private language". By saying that private languages can't exist Wittgenstein wanted us to recognize the inescapable function of the social fabric in language's work.
    • 2009, Andrew Pessin, Mental Transparency, Direct Sensaition, and the Unity of the Cartesian Mind in 2009, Jon Miller, Topics in Early Modern Philosophy of Mind, Springer, page 34:
      One might object that in this section I’ve not exactly quined Cartesian qualia, []
  2. To append something to a quotation of itself.
    • 1984, Douglas R. Hofstadter, “Analogies and Metaphors to Explain Gödel's Theorem”, in Douglas M. Campbell, John C. Higgins, editors, Mathematics: People, Problems, Results, Taylor & Francis, →ISBN, page 274:
      "Quining" is what I called it in my book. (He certainly didn't call it that!) Quining is an operation that I define on any string of English. [] Here is an example of a quined phrase: "is a sentence with no subject" is a sentence with no subject.
    • 1997, Nathaniel S. Hellerstein, Diamond: A Paradox Logic, World Scientific, →ISBN, page 183:
      Diamond arises in Gödelian meta-mathematics. In meta-math, sentences can refer to each other's provability, and to quining. This yields self-reference: T = "is provable when quined" is provable when quined.
    • 2001, Howard Mirowitz, “Re: Why is L&T in quotation marks?”, in rec.music.dylan[5] (Usenet):
      In "Love And Theft", Dylan quined the love and theft in his songs in the album's title, "Love And Theft". So the subtext, the meaning of the entire album, when preceded by its quotation, its symbol, yields a paradox.
    • 2001, Jim Evans, “Re: Quining for the fjords”, in rec.humor.oracle.d[6] (Usenet):
      And, of course, the existence of various sigmonsters guarantees entire quined-posts.

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quine (plural quines)

  1. Doric form of quean (young woman, girl)