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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English quicchen, quytchen, quecchen, from Old English cweċċan (to shake, swing, move, vibrate, shake off, give up), from Proto-Germanic *kwakjaną (to shake, swing), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷog- (to shake, swing). Related to Old English cwacian (to quake). More at quake.

Alternative forms[edit]


quitch (third-person singular simple present quitches, present participle quitching, simple past and past participle quitched)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To shake (something); to stir, move. [8th-13th c.]
  2. (intransitive, now Britain, regional) To stir; to move. [from 13th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.9:
      With a strong yron chaine and coller bound, / That once he could not move, nor quich at all […].
  3. (intransitive) To flinch; shrink.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English quicche, from Old English cwice. Cognate with German Quecke, Dutch kweek, Middle Low German kweke.

Alternative forms[edit]


quitch (uncountable)

  1. Elymus repens, couch grass (a species of grass, often considered a weed)
    • 1658, Sir Thomas Browne, Urne-Burial, Penguin 2005, p. 21:
      we found the bones and ashes half mortered unto the sand and sides of the Urne; and some long roots of Quich, or Dogs-grass wreathed about the bones.
Derived terms[edit]