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It was part of a dialogue I read some time ago:

A. "His wife is pregnant again."

B. "Really? He's got his quiver full, hasn't he?"

A. "He has, and I tell you, he should know better."

I'm inclined to believe this is BrE. Looking up "quiver" I got the following: "a case for carrying or holding arrows" Merriam-Webster

A Google search didn't help much as there is a similar quotation from the book of psalms ("Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.") which fills all pages.

Edited dialogue. Added one more line for clarity.

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  • It's not really possible to determine the exact meaning from this context. A quiver is indeed the case for carrying arrows, and the Biblical reference is to children (the preceding line is: Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. So, your book might have been talking about his numerous children or something else. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 15:08
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    Either his wedding tackle is 'loaded for bear' or he already has as many kids as he reasonably ought to have, and another one will be a strain on his quiver (resources). Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 16:27
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    Regardless of any possible biblical reference, I'm reasonably confident that it means he's got a lot of "ammo" and he's been hitting the mark with it. As opposed to "shooting blanks". (Ie, he's able to inseminate a woman, and seems to do so with great frequency.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 19:19

1 Answer 1

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It is an allusion to Psalm 127:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children[a] of one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

Children are considered a blessing, and are compared to a quiver of arrows. Note, the standard versification isn't particularly helpful here - the thought really begins in verse 3.

In evangelical circles, this is a common metaphor. As a preacher, I've used it myself.

In this bit of dialogue, A is perhaps suggesting that the person they are discussing has too many kids. (This is a common pejorative against Catholics, Mormons, and some evangelicals). By stressing how full the quiver is, he is both drawing the allusion and making a joke at the same time.

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  • The phrase is also used more broadly - to have a quiver full/quiverful of "X" = to have a large number of "X": 1811 Monthly Review. 66 475 He has compiled such hoards of various erudition, and fabricated such quiverfuls of acute argument for every controverted topic, that [etc.]. 1988 M. Bradbury Unsent Letters. 208 What is more, he was, interestingly enough, a writer, and one with a quiverful of credits to his name.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 22:17

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