I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain...in general, I don’t go in for tearjerky romances too heavily. However, I do live in the World and sally hither and yon on the Web, and therefore I am familiar with the oft-quoted, oft-parodied “quit you” line.

Perhaps through the many Brokeback parodies, perhaps through the quoting, this once-archaic usage of ‘to quit’ for ‘to leave or depart from’ is gaining currency. Witness its appearance in Rolling Stone (“When asked if confirmation of her cheating would have been enough to make him quit her, Lachey hesitates.”)

I find this fascinating. Our language churns constantly, creating and destroying words at an astonishing rate — these days, sped along by the Intarnebs. How often, though, is one work, one song or movie, responsible not for inventing a word or innovating a new use for it, but for reviving an old use? I cannot at present think of another example, and therefore leave it as an exercise for the reader.


Where did you get the notion that this phrase arose due to the film? Having not seen it myself, I cannot speak to this usage of this phrase in the film, but the phrase “quit you” has been used in blues and other music genres for quite some time. Examples include songs by John Lee Hooker and Led Zeppelin among others.

It is not “a tearjerky romance,” although it makes most people cry. It is IMHO the best film of 2005. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend seeing it. MSH and I rented it Saturday night. (2nd time for me.)

I’m by no means arguing that the movie invented the usage. The invention of usages and their resultant spread from various movies, TV shows and songs is easy to establish and, scientifically speaking, gajillions of examples exist. (I’m wery scientific.)

However, in this case, I’m saying it’s not a usage that would have been considered current this time last year. Something has changed such that it IS current; and if there’d been a specific revival or popular cover of one of those songs, I might think that was the reason. A famous line from this movie, however, contains the usage, and that line was in the most aired trailer, and in every parody of that trailer that raged across the Intarneb at the time…so I attributed the rising currency to that.

However, someone told me recently that it already had currency in the South, so this is all just hot air. :p

Missy, it isn’t that I don’t trust you as such, it’s that I thought King Kong was pretty much the best movie of 2005, and you thought it wasn’t watchable. We are…different.

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