on equal terms by repayment or retaliation.


    call it quits,
    1. to end one's activity, especially temporarily: At 10 o'clock I decided to call it quits for the day.
    2. to abandon an effort.
    cry quits, to agree to end competition and consider both sides equal: It became too dark to continue play and they decided to cry quits.

Origin of quits

1470–80; perhaps < Medieval Latin quittus quit1



verb (used with object), quit or quit·ted, quit·ting.

to stop, cease, or discontinue: She quit what she was doing to help me paint the house.
to depart from; leave (a place or person): They quit the city for the seashore every summer.
to give up or resign; let go; relinquish: He quit his claim to the throne. She quit her job.
to release one's hold of (something grasped).
to acquit or conduct (oneself).
to free or rid (oneself): to quit oneself of doubts.
to clear (a debt); repay.

verb (used without object), quit or quit·ted, quit·ting.

to cease from doing something; stop.
to give up or resign one's job or position: He keeps threatening to quit.
to depart or leave.
to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.


released from obligation, penalty, etc.; free, clear, or rid (usually followed by of): quit of all further responsibilities.

Origin of quit

1175–1225; (adj.) Middle English quit(te) exempt, freed, acquitted of (< Old French quite) < Medieval Latin quittus, by-form of quītus (≫ Middle English quit(e); see quite), for Latin quiētus quiet1; (v.) Middle English quit(t)en to pay, acquit oneself < Old French quit(t)er < Medieval Latin quittāre, quiētāre to release, discharge, Late Latin quiētare to put to rest, quiet1
Related formsquit·ta·ble, adjectiveun·quit·ted, adjective
Can be confusedquiet quit quite

Synonyms for quit

3. surrender, release. 12. acquitted, discharged.

Antonyms for quit

1, 8. start. 2. enter.




any of various small tropical birds.

Origin of quit

1845–50; orig. Jamaican English, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quits

Contemporary Examples of quits

Historical Examples of quits

  • If I hurl my assegai at another, another hurls his assegai at me, and in a measure we are quits.

  • And you, you made me break my head open; one is just as bad as the other; so, with your leave, we are quits.

  • Then I shall be quits with her and with Mrs. Henry and with Peggy.

  • The groom now quits his former post, and prepares to assist her to mount.

  • We were quits; it was my turn to devote my life, and instead of that I have slain you.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for quits


adjective (postpositive)

on an equal footing; evennow we are quits
call it quits to agree to end a dispute, contest, etc, agreeing that honours are even


an exclamation indicating willingness to give up


verb quits or quitting or quitted or mainly US quit

(tr) to depart from; leavehe quitted the place hastily
to resign; give up (a job)he quitted his job today
(intr) (of a tenant) to give up occupancy of premises and leave themthey received notice to quit
to desist or cease from (something or doing something); break offquit laughing
(tr) to pay off (a debt); discharge or settle
(tr) archaic to conduct or acquit (oneself); comport (oneself)he quits himself with great dignity


(usually predicative foll by of) free (from); released (from)he was quit of all responsibility for their safety

Word Origin for quit

C13: from Old French quitter, from Latin quiētus quiet; see quietus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for quits

"even" (with another), 1660s; earlier "discharged of a liability" (c.1200), perhaps from Medieval Latin quittus (see quit (adj.)).



c.1200, "free, clear" (of debt, etc.), from Old French quite, quitte "free, clear, entire, at liberty; discharged; unmarried," from Medieval Latin quitus, quittus, from Latin quietus "free" (in Medieval Latin "free from war, debts, etc."), also "calm, resting" (see quiet (adj.)).



c.1200, "to repay, discharge" (a debt, etc.), from Old French quiter "clear, establish one's innocence;" also transitive, "release, let go, relinquish, abandon" (12c.), from quite (see quit (adj.)).

Meaning "to reward, give reward" is mid-13c., that of "take revenge; to answer, retort" and "to acquit oneself" are late 14c. From c.1300 as "to acquit (of a charge), declare not guilty." Sense of "leave, depart" is attested from c.1400; that of "stop" (doing something) is from 1640s. Meaning "to give up, relinquish" is from mid-15c. Related: Quitted; quitting. Quitting time is from 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with quits


In addition to the idiom beginning with quit

  • quite a bit
  • quit while one's ahead

also see:

  • call it quits
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.