Definition and background:
4/4 time. It is not to be thought that the symbol " C", which is used to indicate common time, stands for the words " common time "; rather, the symbol came about from the medieval notation of a half-circle, representing the duple division of the breve and the semibreve.This symbol is a throwback to sixteenth century rhythmic notation, when it represented 2/4, or "imperfect time". Today it represents 4/4.
4/4 time, indicating 4 beats to the measure with the quarter note receiving the beat.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary