The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0122 Thursday, 21 March 2013
Date: March 20, 2013 6:39:34 PM EDT
Subject: Re: SHAKSPER: Q: Rom. “quit”
Quit, as OED points out, came into English in the ‘repay’ sense with a long vowel, but it soon shortened (as shown most clearly by citations with a following tt spelling). A 1595 citation where the word is spelled quitt shows that this was in place by then.
As a clipped form of “requite,” the word would naturally be pronounced with a long vowel. But we can’t exclude the possibility that “quit” should be pronounced with a short “i,” as a clipped form of “acquit,” which has a similar meaning—to discharge, as a debt. But the OED quoted here seems not to have considered this possibility. Am I wrong or did they miss it?