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1

quail

play
noun \ˈkwāl\

Simple Definition of quail

  • : a kind of small wild bird that is often hunted

  • : the meat of quail eaten as food

Full Definition of quail

plural quail or quails

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

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


2

quail

verb

Simple Definition of quail

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

Full Definition of quail

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a chiefly dialect :  wither, decline b :  to give way :  falter <his courage never quailed>

  3. 2 :  to recoil in dread or terror :  cower <the strongest quail before financial ruin — Samuel Butler †1902>

  4. transitive verb
  5. 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>.


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