1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Quadrille
QUADRILLE, the name of a game of cards and of a dance. The game, played by four persons with a pack of forty cards, was a variation of the Spanish game of ombre (q.v.) and superseded it in popularity about 1725, to give way in turn to whist. The dance is of French origin and is usually danced by four couples in square. In the 18th century the contredanse was introduced into the ballet, and groups of four, eight or twelve dancers dressed alike performed different figures; these were first called quadrilles des contredanses, later shortened to quadrilles. The dance became popular outside the ballet, and its figures, five in number, with a finale, bore the names of the different contredanses, Le Pantalon, l’Élé, La Poule, La Trénitz, La Pastourelle. The dance was introduced into England in 1815. The word in both its applications comes through Ital. quadriglio or Span. cuadrilla from Lat. quadra, a square, four-sided figure (quattuor, four).