Dictionary

1quail

noun \ˈkwāl\

: a kind of small wild bird that is often hunted

: the meat of quail eaten as food

plural quail or quails

Full Definition of QUAIL

:  any of numerous small gallinaceous birds: as
a :  an Old World migratory game bird (Coturnix coturnix)
b :  bobwhite
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Examples of QUAIL

  1. We had quail for dinner.

Illustration of QUAIL

Origin of QUAIL

Middle English quaile, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin quaccula, of imitative origin
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Birds Terms

aerie, bunting, clutch, covey, hackle, ratite, rictus, ruff, skein, zygodactyl

2quail

verb

: to feel afraid and often to show your fear in a way that can be clearly seen

Full Definition of QUAIL

intransitive verb
1
a chiefly dialect :  wither, decline
b :  to give way :  falter <his courage never quailed>
2
:  to recoil in dread or terror :  cower <the strongest quail before financial ruin — Samuel Butler †1902>
transitive verb
archaic :  to make fearful

Examples of QUAIL

  1. Other politicians quailed before him.
  2. He quailed at the thought of seeing her again.

Origin of QUAIL

Middle English, from Middle Dutch quelen
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of QUAIL

recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust <recoiled at the suggestion of stealing>. shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice <shrank from the unpleasant truth>. flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution <faced her accusers without flinching>. wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (as a start or recoiling) <winced in pain>. blench implies fainthearted flinching <stood their ground without blenching>. quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear <quailed before the apparition>.
QUAIL Defined for Kids

1quail

noun \ˈkwāl\
plural quail or quails

Definition of QUAIL for Kids

:  a small plump bird (as a bobwhite) that feeds mostly on the ground and is sometimes hunted for food or sport

2quail

verb
quailedquail·ing

Definition of QUAIL for Kids

:  to lose courage :  draw back in fear
July 28, 2015
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