\ ˈkvel How to pronounce kvell (audio) \
kvelled; kvelling; kvells

Definition of kvell

intransitive verb

: to be extraordinarily proud : rejoice

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Kvell Has Yiddish Origins

We are pleased to inform you that the word kvell is derived from Yiddish kveln, meaning "to be delighted," which, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word quellen, meaning "to well, gush, or swell." Yiddish has been a wellspring of creativity for English, giving us such delightful words as meister ("one who is knowledgeable about something"), maven ("expert"), and shtick ("one's special activity"), just to name a few. The date for the appearance of kvell in the English language is tricky to pinpoint exactly. The earliest known printed evidence for the word in an English source is found in a 1952 handbook of Jewish words and expressions, but actual usage evidence before that date remains unseen.

Examples of kvell in a Sentence

proud grandparents who kvell over every thing that their precious little darlings do
Recent Examples on the Web Bonnie Winkelman, 62, was kvelling (gushing) over her Lhasa apso, Einstein. Alix Strauss, New York Times, "In Central Park, Teaching Dogs to Sit (in Yiddish)," 20 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kvell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of kvell

circa 1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kvell

Yiddish kveln to be delighted, from Middle High German quellen to well, gush, swell

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Time Traveler for kvell

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The first known use of kvell was circa 1952

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Cite this Entry

“Kvell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kvell. Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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