Posted by ESC on November 27, 2001
In Reply to: Latin quarter, French quarter, etc. posted by Marian on November 27, 2001
: How did such phrases come about? Are they military in origin? Do they refer to sections of cities roped off, so to speak, for particular ethnic groups, perhaps during a military occupation?
Two for the price of one: I just posted this for "no quarter." See meaning No. 3.
NO QUARTER GIVEN -- No leniency or clemency shown. The word 'quarter' has many meanings, one of which is the ancient battlefield practice of sparing defeated enemies from death. That meaning may in turn have derived from one of two others, either a person's relationship with another (i.e., 'to keep good quarter with' someone), or a place of residence and safety. In James Howell's 'Letters' one reads: 'He suffered Tilly to take that great Town with so much effusion of blood, because they wood receiue no quarter.'" " From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).