1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Quire
QUIRE, (in earlier forms quaer, quair and quere, from the O. Fr. quaier, modern cahier, a copy-book, manuscript book; Lat. quaterni, set of four, from quattuor), originally the term for four sheets of paper or parchment folded so as to make eight leaves, the ordinary unit in manuscripts and early printed books; the term is now chiefly applied to a twentieth part of a ream of writing paper, twenty-four sheets. In bookbinding and publishing the expression "in quires" is used of the sheets of a book when not folded or bound. "Quire" was formerly used of a small book contained in a single quire of paper, and so is frequently found in the title of short poems, treatises, &c. A familiar example is the Kingis Quair of King James I. of Scotland. "Choir," a body of singers or the part of a church where the singers sit, was formerly spelled "quire," following the pronunciation of the word (See CHOIR).