\ˈkvel \
kvelled; kvelling; kvells

Definition of kvell 

intransitive verb

: to be extraordinarily proud : rejoice

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kvell

Listen to Our Podcast about kvell

Dictionary Entries near kvell








Statistics for kvell

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kvell

The first known use of kvell was circa 1952

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on kvell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kvell

Comments on kvell

What made you want to look up kvell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!