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Meaning of quaternion

qua•ter•ni•on

Pronunciation: (kwu-tûr'nē-un), [key]
— n.
  1. a group or set of four persons or things.
  2. four gathered sheets folded in two for binding together.
    1. an expression of the form a + bi + cj + dk, where a, b, c, and d are real numbers; i2 = j2 = k2 = −1; and ij = −ji = k,&hasp; jk = −kj = i, and ki = −ik = j.
    2. a quantity or operator expressed as the sum of a real number and three complex numbers, equivalent to the quotient of two vectors. The field of quaternions is not commutative under multiplication.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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