Meaning of Idiom ‘Call it Quits’
1. To call it quits means to stop doing something; to give up on trying to accomplish something; to abandon a goal in order to not risk further loss. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. To agree that a debt is settled or terms are equal. 3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
Compare call it a day.
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Examples Of Use
“I think it’s time to call it quits. I can’t afford to invest any more money in this when we aren’t gaining any ground.”
“I’ve been tinkering with this car for ten years and I still am not close to getting it where I want it. I think I’m going to call it quits before I spend more money on it than it’s worth.”
“He bought out his partner and the two decided to call it quits.”
This idiom began as ‘cry quits’ during the 1600s and call was substituted for cry in the late 1800s. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. The origin of the S in quits is uncertain but it may have been used as an abbreviation of the medieval Latin word quittus, which mean discharged. This was used on receipts to indicate that payment for goods had been made. 5Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010. This would fit the defintion of cry quits, which meant “declare even” or “get even.” 6Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
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