quail

noun
\ ˈkwāl How to pronounce quail (audio) \
plural quail or quails

Definition of quail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

quail

verb
quailed; quailing; quails

Definition of quail (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a chiefly dialectal : 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

Illustration of quail

Illustration of quail

Noun

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for quail

Synonyms: Verb

blench, cringe, flinch, recoil, shrink, squinch, wince

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Verb

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 (such 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

Examples of quail in a Sentence

Noun

We had quail for dinner.

Verb

Other politicians quailed before him. He quailed at the thought of seeing her again.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Dinner-goers feasted on yellowtail sashimi and bacon-wrapped quail in addition to heaping entrees and dessert offerings. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "VIP view: Houston's finest fete Tootsies, the Galleria and Cafe Annie for one epic night on the town," 22 Feb. 2018 Place the quail breast-side up on the baking sheet and put the sheet in the oven. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Sheet Pan Quail and Brussels Sprouts," 11 Sep. 2019 Make a depression into the center of each filling portion and crack a quail egg into it. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes Both Hot and Cold from ‘Downton Abbey’," 11 Sep. 2019 In addition to horses, llamas and alpacas are know to be susceptible to EEE, as well as emus, ostriches, and some non-native species of game birds like pheasants and quail. Jaclyn Reiss, BostonGlobe.com, "What you need to know about EEE in Mass.," 29 Aug. 2019 Now, Fejt said, Zuri is eating a diet of quail meat and practices spreading his wings in the center’s raptor flight facility, Fejt said. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, "Fledgling falcon hatched at Evanston library taken to wildlife center for help with flying," 6 Aug. 2019 Souran was trying to sell elk and buffalo burgers, wild boar ribs, quail on a stick and venison-jalapeño cheese sausage. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delaware State Fair food fight lands in Wisconsin federal court," 5 Aug. 2019 Usually about mid-July we will be entertained by newborn quail chicks, following adults around like fuzzy golf balls. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Wet winter brings variety of visitors to garden," 3 Aug. 2019 Bevies of quail patrol dirt roads, while camera traps set up near water troughs capture images of deer, mountain lions, black bears and even rattlesnakes. Brent Crane, Discover Magazine, "Grizzly Bears Might Return to California. Is the State Ready?," 12 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At least a few Republican senators may similarly quail at handing a difficult, non-partisan job to a lightly qualified politician. The Economist, "Donald Trump wants a loyalist as America’s top intelligence official," 3 Aug. 2019 The Nazis organized with little public attention but have quailed under the scrutiny applied to them in the wake of Charlottesville. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Aubtin Heydari was nearly killed at the Charlottesville rally last year. This is his story.," 10 Aug. 2018 Not so long ago, the FBI would have quailed at the idea of running an informant into any U.S. political operation—even into, say, a congressman under criminal investigation for bribery or corruption. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Will the FBI Come Clean?," 5 July 2018 Michael is a sharp comic creation, with the vocabulary of a longtime theater devotee but the quailing innocence of a kid who still has a lot to learn. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Best TV Shows of 2018 So Far," 30 May 2018 On Friday, Kathleen Breen Combes lit up the stage with sensual, righteous fury; one look and Aurora’s parents quailed with guilt. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Ballet reawakens ‘Sleeping Beauty’," 12 May 2018 But quailing about awesome robots is like refusing to get into a car without a driver or an elevator without an operator. Garry Kasparov, WSJ, "Intelligent Machines Will Teach Us—Not Replace Us," 7 May 2018 Set against today's Alabama, all covered up in thickets of oak and holly and scrub so dense and unnatural that deer can't run and quail can't fly, what survives at Splinter Hill can just about break your heart. Ben Raines, AL.com, "This is how Alabama is supposed to look, and how Alabama used to look," 17 Oct. 2017 Nazis whose every thought is reprehensible will still quail in the face of a lawless crowd. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "The Great Nazi Scare of 2017," 22 Aug. 2017

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

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First Known Use of quail

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for quail

Noun

Middle English quaile, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin quaccula, of imitative origin

Verb

Middle English, from Middle Dutch quelen

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Dictionary Entries near quail

quahogger

quai

quaich

quail

quailberry

quail brush

quail call

Statistics for quail

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quail

The first known use of quail was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for quail

quail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of quail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a kind of small wild bird that is often hunted
: the meat of quail eaten as food

quail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of quail (Entry 2 of 2)

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

quail

noun
\ ˈkwāl How to pronounce quail (audio) \
plural quail or quails

Kids Definition of quail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

quail

verb
quailed; quailing

Kids Definition of quail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lose courage : draw back in fear

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More from Merriam-Webster on quail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quail

Spanish Central: Translation of quail

Nglish: Translation of quail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quail for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quail

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