The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0122  Thursday, 21 March 2013


From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

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?


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