AskDefine | Define quality

Dictionary Definition

quality adj
1 of superior grade; "choice wines"; "prime beef"; "prize carnations"; "quality paper"; "select peaches" [syn: choice, prime(a), prize, select]
2 of high social status; "people of quality"; "a quality family"


1 an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
2 a degree or grade of excellence or worth; "the quality of students has risen"; "an executive of low caliber" [syn: caliber, calibre]
3 a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something; "each town has a quality all its own"; "the radical character of our demands" [syn: character, lineament]
4 (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound); "the timbre of her soprano was rich and lovely"; "the muffled tones of the broken bell summoned them to meet" [syn: timbre, timber, tone]
5 high social status; "a man of quality"

User Contributed Dictionary



From Middle English, from Old French qualite, from Latin qualitatem, accusative of qualitas, from qualis (of what kind), from Proto-Indo-European pronominal base *kwo- ("who", "how"). Cicero coined qualitas as a calque to translate the Greek word ποιότης ("quality"), coined by Plato from ποῖος ("of what nature", "of what kind").


  • /'kwɒl.ɪ.tɪ/


  1. Level of excellence
    This school is well-known for having teachers of high quality.
    Quality of life is usually determined by health, education, and income.
  2. A property or attribute that differentiates a thing or person.
    One of the qualities of pure iron is that it does not rust easily.
    While being impulsive can be great for artists, it is not a desirable quality for engineers.
    Security, stability, and efficiency are good qualities of an operating system.
  3. In a two-phase liquid-vapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
  4. High social position.
    A peasant is not allowed to fall in love with a lady of quality.
    Membership of this golf club is limited to those of quality and wealth.
  5. The correspondence between a goal and its outcome -- between intent and result of action.

Related terms


level of excellence
differentiating property or attribute
  • Catalan: quality
  • Chinese: 性质, 性質 (xìng zhì)
  • Czech: vlastnost
  • Dutch: eigenschap
  • Esperanto: eco
  • Finnish: ominaisuus
  • German: Qualität, Eigenschaft
  • Greek: ποιότητα
  • Hebrew: תכונה (tchuna) , סגולה (sgula)
  • Hungarian: tulajdonság, sajátság
  • Italian: qualità
  • Japanese: 性質
  • Polish: cecha , jakość , przymiot
  • Portuguese: qualidade
  • Romanian: calitate
  • Russian: качество
  • Swedish: kvalitet , kvalité , egenskap
ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of a two-phase liquid-vapor mixture
social position
correspondence between a goal and it's outcome


  1. Being of good worth, well made, fit for purpose.
    We only sell quality products.
    That was a quality game by Jim Smith.
    A quality system ensures products meet customer requirements.


being of good worth

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Quality in everyday life and business, engineering and manufacturing has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority, superiority or usefulness of something. This is the most common interpretation of the term.
Many different techniques and concepts have evolved to improve product or service quality, including SPC, Zero Defects, Six Sigma, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, quality circles, TQM, Theory of Constraints (TOC),Quality Management Systems (ISO 9000 and others) and continuous improvement.
The meaning for the term quality has developed over time. Various interpretations are given below:
  1. ISO 9000 - "Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements"
  2. Six Sigma - "Uniformity around a target value"
  3. (Philip B. Crosby in the 1980s)- "Conformance to requirements". The difficulty with this is that the requirements may not fully represent customer expectations; Crosby treats this as a separate problem.
  4. (Joseph M. Juran).- "Fitness for use". Fitness is defined by the customer.
  5. (Noriaki Kano and others)- A two-dimensional model of quality. The quality has two dimensions: "must-be quality" and "attractive quality". The former is near to the "fitness for use" and the latter is what the customer would love, but has not yet thought about. Supporters characterize this model more succinctly as: "Products and services that meet or exceed customers' expectations".
  6. (Gerald M. Weinberg)- "Value to some person".
  7. (Robert Pirsig)- The result of care.
  8. (W. Edwards Deming)- "Quality and the Required Style of Management" 1988 See "Costs go down and productivity goes up, as improvement of quality is accomplished by better management of design, engineering, testing and by improvement of processes. Better quality at lower price has a chance to capture a market. Cutting costs without improvement of quality is futile."
  9. (Genichi Taguchi). Taguchi's definition of quality is based on a more comprehensive view of the production system, and he relates Quality (or, more precisely, the lack of it) to "The loss a product imposes on society after it is shipped".
  10. One key distinction to make is there are two common applications of the term Quality as form of activity or function within a business. One is Quality Assurance which is the "prevention of defects", such as the deployment of a Quality Management System and preventative activities like FMEA. The other is Quality Control which is the "detection of defects", most commonly associated with testing which takes place within a Quality Management System typically referred to as Verification and Validation.
American Society for Quality Source: "a subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings:
  1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.
  2. a product or service free of deficiencies."
The quality of a product or service refers to the perception of the degree to which the product or service meets the customer's expectations. Quality has no specific meaning unless related to a specific function and/or object. Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective attribute.
The dimensions of quality refer to the attributes that quality achieves in Operations Management
  • Quality supports dependability
  • Dependability supports Speed
  • Speed supports Flexibility
  • Flexibility supports Cost.
Quality ↔ Dependability ↔ Speed ↔ Flexibility ↔ Cost
In the manufacturing industry it is commonly stated that “Quality drives productivity.” Improved productivity is a source of greater revenues, employment opportunities and technological advances. Most discussions of quality refer to a finished part, wherever it is in the process. Inspection, which is what quality insurance usually means, is historical, since the work is done. The best way to think about quality is in process control. If the process is under control, inspection is not necessary.
However, there is one characteristic of modern quality that is universal. In the past, when we tried to improve quality, typically defined as producing fewer defective parts, we did so at the expense of increased cost, increased task time, longer cycle time, etc. We could not get fewer defective parts and lower cost and shorter cycle times, and so on. However, when modern quality techniques are applied correctly to business, engineering, manufacturing or assembly processes, all aspects of quality - customer satisfaction and fewer defects/errors and cycle time and task time/productivity and total cost, etc.- must all improve or, if one of these aspects does not improve, it must at least stay stable and not decline. So modern quality has the characteristic that it creates AND-based benefits, not OR-based benefits.
The most progressive view of quality is that it is defined entirely by the customer or end user and is based upon that person's evaluation of his or her entire customer experience. The customer experience is the aggregate of all the touch points that customers have with the company's product and services, and is by definition a combination of these. For example, any time one buys a product one forms an impression based on how it was sold, how it was delivered, how it performed, how well it was supported etc.
quality in Catalan: Qualitat
quality in Czech: Kvalita
quality in Danish: Kvalitet
quality in German: Qualität
quality in Spanish: Calidad
quality in Basque: Kalitate
quality in Persian: کیفیت
quality in French: Contrôle de qualité
quality in Croatian: Kvaliteta
quality in Indonesian: Kualitas
quality in Italian: Qualità
quality in Hebrew: איכות
quality in Latvian: Kvalitāte
quality in Hungarian: Minőség
quality in Macedonian: Квалитет
quality in Dutch: Kwaliteit (eigenschap)
quality in Japanese: 品質
quality in Norwegian: Kvalitet
quality in Norwegian Nynorsk: Kvalitet
quality in Polish: Jakość
quality in Portuguese: Qualidade
quality in Russian: Качество
quality in Simple English: Quality
quality in Slovak: Kvalita (akosť)
quality in Finnish: Laatu
quality in Swedish: Kvalitet
quality in Ukrainian: Якість
quality in Chinese: 品质

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Al, Grade A, acquired taste, advantageousness, affection, affirmation, agreeableness, air, ancestry, appreciation of excellence, arete, aristocracy, aristocraticalness, aroma, atmosphere, attribute, aura, auspiciousness, badge, beneficialness, benevolence, benignity, birth, blood, blue blood, blue-ribbon, body-build, brand, cachet, caliber, capacity, cast, character, characteristic, characteristics, choiceness, civilized taste, civilizedness, class, climate, cogency, complexion, composition, condition, configuration, constituents, constitution, crasis, cultivated taste, cultivation, culture, cut, daintiness, delicacy, desert, dharma, diathesis, differentia, differential, dignity, discrimination, disposition, distinction, distinctive feature, earmark, elegance, element, elite, eminence, ethos, excellence, excellency, expedience, factor, fairness, fastidiousness, favorableness, feature, feel, feeling, fiber, figure, fine, fineness, finesse, first-class, first-rate, first-rateness, flavor, flower, footing, frame, genius, genteelness, gentility, gentry, good taste, goodliness, goodness, grace, gracefulness, gracility, graciosity, graciousness, grade, grain, grandeur, gust, habit, hallmark, healthiness, helpfulness, honorable descent, hue, humor, humors, idiocrasy, idiosyncrasy, ilk, importance, impress, impression, index, individualism, individuality, keynote, kind, kindness, lineaments, makeup, mannerism, mark, marking, merit, milieu, mold, nature, niceness, nicety, nobility, noble birth, nobleness, note, odor, overtone, parameter, part, particularity, patriciate, peculiarity, perfection, physique, place, pleasantness, polish, position, predication, prime, profitableness, prominence, property, quirk, rank, refinement, relation, rewardingness, role, royalty, savor, seal, sense, shape, singularity, situation, skillfulness, smack, society, somatotype, sophistication, sort, soundness, specialty, spirit, stamp, standing, state, station, stature, status, streak, stripe, subtlety, suchness, superbness, superior, superiority, supremacy, system, taint, tang, taste, tastefulness, temper, temperament, tendency, tenor, token, tone, trait, trick, type, undertone, upper class, usefulness, validity, value, vein, virtue, virtuousness, way, wholeness, worth
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1