Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something that serves to suppress, check, or eliminate.
  • n. Release from life; death.
  • n. A final discharge, as of a duty or debt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stillness or pause; something that quiets or represses; removal from activity; especially: death.
  • n. Final settlement (as of a debt).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Final discharge or acquittance, as from debt or obligation; that which silences claims; (Fig.) rest; death.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A final discharge of an account; a final settlement; a quittance.
  • n. Hence A finishing or ending in general; stoppage.
  • n. A severe blow; a “settler.”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. euphemisms for death (based on an analogy between lying in a bed and in a tomb)

Etymologies

Short for Middle English quietus (est), (he is) discharged (of an obligation), from Medieval Latin quiētus (est), from Latin, (he is) at rest; see quiet.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin quiētus ("at rest"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Quietus is a short form of the term quietus est or abeinde recessit quietus, the formulae used in the Court of the Exchequer to show that an account has been correctly presented and cleared.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIV No 4

  • One way in which a language lives and grows is by modifying existing meanings and employing them in new contexts, and it is the poets who contribute most to this process.. bqb As an example from Shakespeare we can take the word quietus which at first sight seems not to lend itself to poetry at all.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIV No 4

  • I think you need to come to terms with the fact that a large number of people in the UK see giving drugs smugglers/dealers their quietus is the way to go - pick me on that one.

    Army Rumour Service

  • Maupassant they get their "quietus" from the height, so to speak, of the saddle of a sporting gentleman.

    Suspended Judgments Essays on Books and Sensations

  • The idea of the open Polar Sea then received its "quietus," for nothing but ice is there.

    Notable Voyagers From Columbus to Nordenskiold

  • In Oslo, August 31st, the Norwegian central character, Anders, is a drug addict from a similar background who makes his quietus after a day in the national capital.

    Oslo, August 31st – review

  • And, completely to put the quietus on any last lingering hopes he might have had of her, he was in the thick of his spectacular and intensely bitter fight with the Coastwise Steam Navigation Company, and the Hawaiian,

    Chapter VII

  • This also puts the quietus to the notion that you can see "design" by looking at things.

    March 6th, 2009

  • UPDATE (and apology): (March 26) Evan Dyer puts the quietus on this one, and has posted a comment at Wikileaks as well.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • When Deegan began praying noisily over his dinner, Jake listened for half a minute and then told the man to put the quietus on it.

    Come Again No More

Comments

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  • For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin?

    - Hamlet, III, i.

    March 19, 2008

  • "With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
    a bruise or break for exit for his life;
    but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?

    Surely not so! for how could murder, even self-murder
    ever a quietus make?

    O let us talk of quiet that we know,
    that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
    of a strong heart at peace!

    How can we this, our own quietus make?"

    D.H. Lawrence, "The Ship of Death"

    March 19, 2008

  • "'Jesus, Mary and Joseph,' cried Stephen, starting up. 'Do you ask me to discuss a patient, sir? Be damned to your impertinence. You will be desiring me to give him a quietus next.'"
    --P. O'Brian, The Yellow Admiral, 206

    March 19, 2008

  • The quietus he delivered to literary realism literally went unnoticed. Casanova, Samuel Beckett, p. 105.

    January 9, 2007