Definition of quietus
- put the quietus on their celebration
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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
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").
First Known Use: 1540See Words from the same year
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