Quire vs. Choir – Meaning, Difference & Spelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Is a choir the same as a quire? While many people might think that quire is just another way to spell choir, it’s not. Let’s look at the definitions of these two nouns and how you can use them correctly. I’ll even share some easy sentence examples showing how I would use each word.

What Is the Difference Between Choir and Quire?

Quire vs. Choir Meaning Difference Spelling

There’s a huge difference when we look closely. So, the noun “choir” means a group of singers singing in harmony, usually related to churches or an organized group. It can consist of both professional singers and amateur singers alike.

But the noun “quire” has been assigned several meanings over time. First, it can refer to a smaller group of people or singers, usually four or fewer. It’s also used to describe a small stack of papers folded together to create a book of sorts. It derives from the Latin word quaterni, meaning four each or four at a time.

Throughout time, the word quire has also been used to describe the process of binding a book. A quired book has been bound and sewn of sheets of paper.

Another old usage for quire is to describe a specific part of a church’s architecture, which might have been the culprit for some of the confusion between quire and choir because it relates them both to a church. A church quire is an area that surrounds the altar and can also be called the chancel.

Is Quire a Choir?

No, not really. You can use the term quire to describe a small body of singers with four or fewer people. But that wouldn’t make up a full choir.

Why Is It Called the Quire?

The word comes from the Latin word quaterni, which loosely translates to “four at a time.” So, a group of four singers would be a quire, or a stack of four papers would also be a quire.

What Are the Synonyms of Quire?

  • Book
  • Folder
  • Notepad
  • Stack
  • Sheets

Is It Preaching to the Choir or Quire?

The phrase is “preaching to the choir,” and it means that you’re saying something to a person or group of people who already know the information or at least accept it.

Examples of Using Choir in a Sentence

Quire vs. Choir Meaning Difference Spelling 1
  • You’re preaching to the choir about that upcoming book. I’ve already pre-ordered it.
  • My daughter joined the choir three years ago and has performed all over Newfoundland. Now she’s a major choir geek.
  • My mother was the lead in her choir growing up, so she pushed me to join in high school, and I absolutely hated it. I’m not a singer.
  • We don’t attend church regularly, but we love going around Christmastime and listening to the church choirs perform.
  • Joining a community choir is a great way to meet new friends and show off those awesome singing skills.
  • You have choir practice at 4 pm. 

Examples of Using Quire in a Sentence

  • Decades ago, most writers could barely afford a quire of paper to write their ideas for a fascinating story.
  • The pope stood in the quire, waiting for everyone to be seated.
  • My collection of old tomes consists of four quires, but I’m on the hunt for more.
  • Back in medieval days, a quire was four sheets of paper or parchment folded in half to create eight leaves or pages.

The Choir Uses a Quire of Songs

So, now you can move forward knowing the true difference and meaning behind the words quire and choir. Just always remember that choir has an O in it, and choir singers’ mouths sometimes make an O shape when they’re singing.