quail

noun
\ˈkwāl \
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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Choose the Right Synonym for quail

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

Instead, Ledford is installing grasslands to host valuable game species that never used to live in the immediate area, including elk and quail. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "From Defiled to Wild—Can a Spent Coal Mine Be Reborn as a Nature Conservation Center?," 11 July 2018 That freshwater marsh and the native grasslands of the adjacent coastal prairie provide some of the highest quality habitat for resident mottled ducks and ground-nesting birds such as bobwhite quail and meadowlarks. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Major additions in the works for Texas’ public lands," 22 Apr. 2018 Two decades of wildlife management have helped the Circle J&B Ranch gain a reputation for quail, dove, turkey and deer hunting. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "This ranch will make you fall in love with west Texas, and it's for sale," 29 May 2018 Okroshka, a cooler summer soup, is made with the same yogurt as in kurut, although here the salt has subsided; crisp radish and dill lend brightness, and a quail egg, chopped, a hint of cream. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "At Cafe Dushanbe, a Chef Stays True to His Tajik Roots," 21 June 2018 Brand’s simple, honest flavors shine in minimalist dishes like the (four-ingredient) salt and vinegar Brussels sprouts, which are crisp and tangy, and the smoked Texas quail, whose crunchy morsels are served atop pickled corn relish. Mark Johanson, chicagotribune.com, "Taco trucks and beyond: San Antonio, home to Final Four, has a winning food scene," 28 Mar. 2018 Reduce heat slightly to maintain a gentle simmer and add quail eggs. Jonah Miller, WSJ, "Throw a Summer Party the Effortless Spanish Way," 6 July 2018 The quail returned, and Floridians haven’t stopped since. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "What the West Can Learn from Florida About Forest Fires," 27 June 2018 But that looks to possibly change over coming days, improving the odds for those fawns, their parents and many other wildlife species including quail, turkey and the state’s resident waterfowl. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Texas’ deer population would welcome good soaking," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Hearts of draft men quailed at the prospect, but there was no turning back. Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic, "The Atlantic Daily: Terror and Twitter," 5 June 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

19 Sep 2018

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)

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

quail

noun
\ˈkwāl \
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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Comments on quail

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