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[kwawr-ter-mas-ter, -mah-ster] /ˈkwɔr tərˌmæs tər, -ˌmɑ stər/
Military. an officer charged with providing quarters, clothing, fuel, transportation, etc., for a body of troops.
Navy. a petty officer having charge of signals, navigating apparatus, etc.
Origin of quartermaster
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English quarter maister. See quarter, master
Related forms
quartermasterlike, adjective
quartermastership, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for quartermaster
Historical Examples
  • Nevertheless, the Editor and quartermaster had half-risen from their seats.

  • "South-east half-south," repeated the quartermaster at the wheel.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • A year later he was a quartermaster's sergeant; one year afterward a quartermaster.

    Pride Eugne Sue
  • He spoke to Louis, and the quartermaster was told to ring the speed-bell.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • "Port your wheel—hard over," repeated the first officer to the quartermaster at the helm—who answered and obeyed.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • Then a quartermaster entered with the same report of the forecastles.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • The quartermaster General had charge of food, forage, transports and remounts.

  • Its effects could be seen in the expression of the quartermaster.

    In Mesopotamia Martin Swayne
  • The captain waved his hand in silence to the quartermaster at the wheel, and the helm was put down.

    Sea Stories Various
  • The quartermaster frowned, looking at the soldiers as if threatening to punish them.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for quartermaster


an officer responsible for accommodation, food, and equipment in a military unit
a rating in the navy, usually a petty officer, with particular responsibility for steering a ship and other navigational duties
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quartermaster

early 15c., "subordinate officer of a ship," from French quartier-maître or directly from Dutch kwartier-meester; originally a ship's officer whose duties included stowing of the hold; later (c.1600) an officer in charge of quarters and rations for troops. See quarters.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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