qui·​etus | \ kwī-ˈē-təs How to pronounce quietus (audio) , -ˈā- How to pronounce quietus (audio) \

Definition of quietus

1 : final settlement (as of a debt)
2 : removal from activity especially : death
3 : something that quiets or represses put the quietus on their celebration

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Did You Know?

In the early 1500s, English speakers adopted the Medieval Latin phrase quietus est (literally "he is quit") as the name for the writ of discharge exempting a baron or knight from payment of a knight's fee to the king. The expression was later shortened to "quietus" and applied to the termination of any debt. William Shakespeare was the first to use "quietus" as a metaphor for the termination of life: "For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, … When he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin?" (Hamlet). The third meaning, which is more influenced by "quiet" than "quit," appeared in the 19th century. It often occurs in the phrase "put the quietus on" (as in, "The bad news put the quietus on their celebration").

Examples of quietus in a Sentence

was granted a quietus on the remainder of the debt in the old man's will her unshakable belief in a blissful afterlife allowed her to meet her quietus without the slightest tinge of fear or regret

First Known Use of quietus

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quietus

Middle English quietus est, borrowed from Medieval Latin, "he is quit," formula of discharge from obligation

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The first known use of quietus was in 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Quietus.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quietus. Accessed 28 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on quietus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quietus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quietus

Comments on quietus

What made you want to look up quietus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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