Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Sayings from Appalachia



Chatter and Chitter often needed a quietus put on them when they were little.
Looks like Chatter put a quietus on herself the day of this photo.

quietus noun A hush, a state of calm or quiet, as in the early morning or after a rain; something that brings calm or death, or that causes action to cease (esp in phrs put a quietus on, put the quietus on).
1931 Professor Learns Of course he says reckon, and right smart, and you all and quietus, and pizen, and yon-side. 1939 WPA Guide NC 98 = the calm that comes to some living thing after death, used in pity by an old woman about a wild animal killed by the dogs. 1998 Montgomery Coll. Jim put the quietus on the loud mouth (Brown); He put a quietus on the congregation when he come in, you kids better quieten down or I’ll put a quietus on you (Cardwell); He sure put the quietus on him in a hurry (Jones); = a calmness with no time restrictions and not always associated with rain, I know the term in expressions such as “Although the boys had been arguing all day, their father put a quietus on them when the came home from work” (Ledford); = used by a parent to threaten a spanking, “I’ll put the quietus on you if you don’t settle down” (Norris); = to put a stop to, as in “He put a quietus to that lawsuit” (Oliver).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

A few weeks back a friend’s husband asked me if I had ever blogged about putting a quietus on someone. I said yes and I’ve even videoed Chitter using the word.


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Funny the man who asked about the word has the last name of Ledford and a Ledford was used as documentation in the dictionary entry.

Have you ever had to put the quietus on someone?


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  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Im familiar with the term, haven’t administered it near enough

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 2, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I was late turning my TV (Murphy Gospel Radio Station) on, and there You were, talking about the John C. Campbell Folk School this Saturday and Sunday. Along with others, you talked about all the good food and tee shirts you could buy near the Festival Barn, where the Singing and Dancing takes place.

    It is the Biggest thing we have in our area. There’s over 600 Vendors scheduled to be there and for a small entrance fee, you can’t beat it. …Ken

  • Reply
    Jay Clark
    October 2, 2018 at 11:16 am

    After hearing this used as you described for all my young life, I was surprised to encounter it in 12th grade of high school when reading Shakespeare. I would guess the word traveled to our southern mountains along with so many other words, phrases and songs from Elizabethan England. Merriam Webster has this: William Shakespeare was the first to use “quietus” as a metaphor for the termination of life: “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, … When he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin?” (Hamlet).

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    October 2, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Mama is the only person I’ve ever heard use “quietus” Her family was from West Tn. but strangely enough she used so many of the Appalachian terms. I love “quietus” and all the old words.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Thought surely you’d have lots of comments on this one by now. I am familiar with the word but more by hearing than by saying. It does seem to apply in a wide variety of situations and circumstances.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 8:56 am

    The only person I can recall using that term was my dad. It was usually. “Awright put a quietus to that or I will.”

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I have never used the word and don’t think I have heard anyone else say it either. My ex-husband used to tell the kids he was going to put the quietangus on them. Probably a word he made up and was never spoken by anyone else. He was stupid like that.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 2, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Yep. Heard that one, though it is not used often. It is an example of a word that when seen in print it is not easy to know how to pronounce it.

    I went and looked it up to see where it came from. In the dictionary I used it is said to come from Latin “quietus est” meaning “it is quit”. I expect another way we say it is, “It’s over.” I like it. There are lots of things being agitated these days that need to have the quietus put on them.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 2, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Oh, I know that expression very well! It was used on a lot on me as a child. It seems that I talked a lot and my folks were forever putting the quietus on me!
    I didn’t really understand the problem, I was just making observations.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

    What a perfect word. It both defines itself and acts

  • Reply
    aw griff
    October 2, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Tipper, so many of your subjects bring back memories of my Dad. When I saw the word I immediately thought of him. He often used quietus and used it on me several times. If I had got caught in all my meanness the quietus would have been a belting.

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