Meaning of quadrivium in English:


Pronunciation /kwɒˈdrɪvɪəm/


  • A medieval university course involving the ‘mathematical arts’ of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.

    Compare with trivium

    ‘He then progressed to the quadrivium, studying geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy.’
    • ‘And yet our curricula still reflect the priorities of the 1893 Committee of Ten, if not the shadows of the medieval trivium and quadrivium.’
    • ‘The trivium and the quadrivium represented the available means of expression.’
    • ‘Arts students studied the trivium, parts of the quadrivium, and an increasingly large amount of Aristotle.’
    • ‘Pacioli's four mathematical disciplines are the antique and medieval quadrivium.’


Latin, literally ‘the place where four roads meet’ (in late Latin ‘the four branches of mathematics’), from quadri- ‘four’ + via ‘road’.