Word of the Day : March 10, 2012

quietus

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noun kwye-EE-tus

Definition

1 : final settlement (as of a debt)

2 : removal from activity; especially : death

3 : something that quiets or represses

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

The town council voted against granting a permit to stage the concert in the park, thus putting the quietus on any repeat of last year's unruly behavior.

"All this comes just about the time when some bass-fishing folks were predicting a mad rush to the banks for the first round of spawning on Tuesday's full moon. The effects of the rain, cooler water and a rising barometer should put the quietus on that until water levels stabilize and sunlight returns to warm the water." - From an article by Joe Macaluso in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), February 2, 2012



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