Definition of "quichet"

Posted By: Wispy

Definition of "quichet" - 12/30/00 04:17 PM

This is a noun & has something to do with placing a bet in Great Britain. I read it in a novel by
the late author Sarah Caudwell, "The Sybil in Her Grave" (Delacorte Press, 2000), p. 104: At a race track, the protag. was filling out a betting slip & was "...standing beside the quichet..." Even my English cousin's research over there met with no success: she couldn't find anyone who had even heard of the word, let alone knew its definition, not in a betting shop nor in the "Complete Oxford...". :-) So, if any of you, my fellow Wordsmiths, can suggest another reference I could check or know definitively what the denotation of "quichet" is, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Posted By: tsuwm

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/30/00 06:35 PM

I should probably leave this one for the cricket cabal, but I think this is a variant of the French word guichet [kee shee], which is a betting window; it's also related to wicket, which has a sense of a window or smaller door in a door. this is all assuming she wasn't referring to a small quiche, or to tilting at windmills.

Posted By: Capital Kiwi

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/30/00 06:38 PM

The only definition, as such, that I could find wasn as the French word for "Wicket". A url to this definition (see "Wicket") from Webster 1913 is:


Based on this, perhaps it is an old term for the gate from the race course into the birdcage? Just a guess based on the fact that quichet means wicket as in "wicket gate".


Posted By: Father Steve

Obstructed Greetings - 12/30/00 07:08 PM

Dear Wispy ~

When I clicked on your profile to send you a private message welcoming you to the conversation, I got a cyber response that said "no messages allowed" or some such. So I will resort to this more-public way to say "Welcome."

Father Steve

Posted By: Jackie

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/30/00 11:41 PM

I'll add my welcome, Wispy. Here's part of what C.K.'s link has:

Wick"et (?), n. [OE. wiket, OF. wiket, guichet, F. quichet; probably of Scand. origin; cf. Icel. vk a small creek, inlet, bay, vik a corner.]
1. A small gate or door, especially one forming part of, or placed near, a larger door or gate; a narrow opening or entrance cut in or beside a door or gate, or the door which is used to close such entrance or aperture. Piers Plowman. Heaven's wicket." Milton.

Without seeing the actual context, it's hard for me to tell what the author is describing. Possibly she is meaning a
half-door, or part of a countertop that lifts up, to allow
restricted access to where the betting money is taken in.

Posted By: belMarduk

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/31/00 12:46 AM

Hi Wispy.

I agree with Tsuwm…the resemblance to guichet is far too much of a coincidence. I looked up quichet in my French dictionaries to see if it might be a variation I was not aware of. I couldn’t find it there. By the way you describe it, it would seem a natural though. Maybe it was a, horror of horrors, misprint that the editor just did not catch.

Posted By: tsuwm

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/31/00 02:31 AM

bel, it may not be a misspelling at all, but merely an old form of the same word (see the progression listed in the 1913 Websters excerpt above) -- it even looks like the word could have undergone a guichet >> quichet >> guichet cycle (or the author is indulging in a bit of gadzookery!) [or the old Webster's got the progression wrong {the OED doesn't list quichet at all and lists guichet as the modern French}.

Posted By: Solamente, Doug.

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 12/31/00 04:56 PM

A friend of mine who lives in France told me last night that a quichet is akin to our teller windows in the States. Back to the original query, I wouldn't be surprised if the quichet in the book was a betting window.

Posted By: TEd Remington

"quichet" - 01/01/01 11:38 AM

There is another possibility. I heard that Dubya had breakfast with former foe Al Gore the other day. The waitress asked what they wanted to eat. Al said, "I'd like coffee, tomato juice, two eggs scrambled, toast, and hashbrowns." Dubya looked up at the waitress and said, "I'd like a quicky."

The waitress threw down her order pad. "I can't believe it. You've been president-elect for a hot minute and you're already just like Clinton, wanting sex from every woman you meet. I've had it." Off she stomps.

Al looked at Dubya and said, "George, by any chance did you mean quiche?"

Perhaps quichet is qhere you go to get a little quicky.

Posted By: NicholasW

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 01/02/01 11:03 AM

I think it's a misprint too, even if it is also misprinted in a dictionary. I don't know of any alternation between gu and qu in French. [w] > [gw] > [g] but not > [kw] or [k].

Posted By: Wispy

Re: Definition of "quichet" - 01/06/01 06:30 PM

Dear Wordsmiths: Thank you so much for your welcomes & for what sounds to me like the answer to my question re: the definition of that ole quichet! It must be the betting window that the protagonist in the novel was standing next to, but infering such & knowing for sure are two different things. I believe we can say, thanks to Tsuwm who gave us the first info, that we have the French to thank for the word. I'll pass this along to my cousin in England. Thanks much! Be talking to you. :-) This site is a great discovery!
[P.S. I'm not sure if this will get posted for all of you to read or not -- is there a specific way to "reply" to an entire thread?]

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