quark [kwawrk, kwahrk]
1. Physics. any of the hypothetical particles with spin 1/2, baryon number 1/3, and electric charge 1/3 or −2/3 that, together with their antiparticles, are believed to constitute all the elementary particles classed as baryons and mesons; they are distinguished by their flavors, designated as up (u), down (d), strange (s), charm (c), bottom or beauty (b), and top or truth (t), and their colors, red, green, and blue.
Compare color (def 18), flavor (def 5), quantum chromodynamics, quark model.
Can be confused: quirk.
Origin: coined in 1963 by U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann (born 1929), who associated it with a word in Joyce's Finnegans Wake, read variously as English quark croak and German Quark curd, (slang) rubbish, tripe
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