What is to quash? Definition and examples
To quash means to reject something as invalid, such as a legal procedure. It means to officially say that something, such as an earlier official decision, is no longer valid or to be accepted.
If you don’t want something to happen, you can quash it. It means that you forcefully stop it from happening. If you read “ACME Inc. moved swiftly to quash rumors that it was in trouble,” it means that it forcefully stopped the rumors. In this context, the term means to stamp out or extinguish.
Collins Dictionary has these meanings of the term:
“1. If a court or someone in authority quashes a decision or judgment, they officially reject it. 2. If someone quashes rumors, they say or do something to demonstrate that the rumors are not true. 3. To quash a rebellion or protest means to stop it, often in a violent way.
Motion to quash
A motion to quash is a legal term. It is a request to a court to render a previous court decision invalid or null. ‘Null’ means having no binding or legal force; in other words, invalid.
The motion can arise out of mistakes that a lawyer in a court proceeding made. If the court made a mistake, a lawyer might file a motion to quash.
An attorney may do the same if he or she believes the issuance of, for example, a subpoena was not done properly, i.e., in a legal manner.
Etymology of ‘quash’
Etymology is the study of the history or origin of words and how their meanings evolved. Someone who studies the history or origin of words is an etymologist.
The term first appeared in the English language at the beginning of the fourteenth century, with the meaning ‘to annul or make void.’ It came from the Old French word ‘Cassare, Quasser,’ which meant ‘to declare void, annul.’ The French word came from Medieval Latin ‘Quassare,’ which meant ‘null, void, empty.’
In early 14c., quash also meant ‘to crush or break.’ It came from the Old French word ‘Casser, Quasser,’ which meant ‘to injure, smash, break, harm, or weaken.’ The Old French word cam from the Latin word ‘Quassare,’ which meant ‘to shatter.’