quillet

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Shortened from quillity.

Noun[edit]

quillet (plural quillets)

  1. A quibble, an evasive distinction.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet , act.V sc.1
      Where be his quiddities now - his quillets, his cases, his tenures and his tricks?
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, NYRB, 2001, vol.1, p.327-8:
      Hence it comes that such a pack of vile buffoons [] intrude with unwashed feet upon the sacred precinct of Theology, bringing with them nothing save brazen impudence, and some hackneyed quillets and scholastic trifles not good enough for a crowd at a street corner.

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin unknown.

Noun[edit]

quillet (plural quillets)

  1. (now regional) A small plot of land; historically: a strip of land that together with others like it formed a larger field.
    • 1908, Sabine Baring-Gould, “Hugh Stafford and the Royal Wilding”, in Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, London: John Lane, page 7:
      The single and only [Royal Wilding apple] tree from which the apple was first propagated […] stands in a very little quillet (as we call it) of gardening, adjoining to the post-road that leads from Exeter to Oakhampton, in the parish of St. Thomas, but near the borders of another parish called Whitestone.
Synonyms[edit]