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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Quarantine


QUAR'ANTINE, noun [Latin quartus, fourth; Eng. quart. See Quart and Square.]

1. Properly, the space of forty days; appropriately, the term of forty days during which a ship arriving in port and suspected of being infected with a malignant, contagious disease, is obliged to forbear all intercourse with the city or place. Hence,

2. Restraint of intercourse to which a ship is subjected on the presumption that she may be infected, either for forty days or for any other limited term. It is customary for the proper officers to determine the period of restraint at their discretion, according to circumstances. Hence we hear of a quarantine of five days, of ten, of thirty, etc. as well as of forty. We say, a ship performs quarantine or rides at quarantine We also apply the word to persons. The passengers and crew perform quarantine

3. In law, the period of forty days, during which the widow of a man dying seized of land, has the privilege of remaining to the mansion house.

QUARANTINE, verb transitive To prohibit from intercourse with a city or its inhabitants; to compel to remain at a distance from shore for forty days, or for other limited period, on account of real or supposed infection; applied to ships, or to persons and goods.