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Quietus

The writ of discharge formerly granted to those barons and knights who personally attended the king on a foreign expedition. At their discharge they were exempt from the claim of scutage or knight's fee. Subsequently the term was applied to the acquittance which a sheriff receives on settling his account at the Exchequer; and, later still, to any discharge of an account: thus Webster says-

“You had the trick in audit-time to be sick till I had signed your quietus.” —Duchess of Malfy (1623).

Quietus.
A severe blow; a settler; death, or discharge from life.

Who would fardels bear ...
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?

Shakespeare: Hamlet, iii. 1.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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