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From Middle English quoth, quath, from Old English cwæþ (first and third person past indicative of cweþan (to say, speak to, address, exhort, admonish)), from Proto-Germanic *kwaþ (first and third person past indicative of Proto-Germanic *kweþaną (to say)).




  1. (archaic or literary, now defective) simple past tense of quethe; said
    • 1845 February, — Quarles [pseudonym; Edgar Allan Poe], “The Raven”, in The American Review[1], volume I, number II, New York, N.Y.; London: Wiley & Putnam, [], OCLC 1015246566:
      Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore! / Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."
    • a. 1897, Jean Ingelow, The Brides of Enderby:
      “Pull, if ye never pull’d before; / Good ringers, pull your best,” quoth he.
    • 1883, Howard Pyle, chapter V, in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood:
      “Good morrow to thee, jolly fellow,” quoth Robin, “thou seemest happy this merry morn.” ¶ “Ay, that am I,” quoth the jolly Butcher, “and why should I not be so? Am I not hale in wind and limb? Have I not the bonniest lass in all Nottinghamshire? And lastly, am I not to be married to her on Thursday next in sweet Locksley Town?”


quoth (third-person singular simple present quoth, no present participle, simple past and past participle quoth)

  1. (defective, modal, auxiliary) to say

Usage notes[edit]

Quoth is considered a defective verb because it is now the only recognizable form of the verb quethe, all other forms of which are obsolete. Quoth almost always comes before the subject, usually in the form "quoth he/she." It also often comes after the object, which is whatever is being said by the subject, written between quotation marks. It can also be inserted in the middle of an object phrase, where "quoth [subject]" is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

See also[edit]