A-Z of Shakespeare – Q


Today’s Shakespearean word of the day is… quietus

Q - quietus

Quietus is a noun that means release. Hamlet reflects that anyone ‘might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin’ (Hamlet, 3.1.75)– ie. use a dagger on himself to leave life behind.

The word is related to ‘quiet’, but its Latin appearance (the ‘-us’ ending) has led to various pronunciations – ‘kwie‑ay‑tus’, ‘kwee‑ay‑tus’ or ‘kwie‑ee‑tus’.

Listen to the pronunciation of quietus here


Shakespeare Dictionary _130This definition is taken from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a unique dictionary to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language, compiled by renowned English language expert David Crystal and Shakespearean actor and producer Ben Crystal.