[Tex/LaTex] Meaning of \quad


Many LaTeX command names have some 'justification'.
For example the commands \cup and \cap have a straightforward meaning.

However, I couldn't find a meaning for the commands \quad and \qquad. Is it maybe coming from a concatenation of 'equation' and 'add' ?

Best Answer

The word “quad” is a traditional term in typography. It comes from Italian “quadratone” (big square). In old fashioned metal typography it meant a square piece of metal lower than type height that could be inserted between types for spacing them. In Italian typography it's still called “spazio quadratone”.

It's commonly as wide and high as an uppercase “M”, since this is usually the widest letter in a font and occupies a square area.

The command \quad takes its name from this traditional name; \qquad just means ”two quads”. However in TeX the \quad has no height, but only width.

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