1

quail

play
noun \ ˈkwāl \

Definition of quail

plural quail or quails
:any of numerous small gallinaceous birds: such as
a :an Old World migratory game bird (Coturnix coturnix)

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Examples of quail in a Sentence

  1. We had quail for dinner.

Recent Examples of quail from the Web

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.

Illustration of quail

Origin and Etymology of quail

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


2

quail

verb

Definition of quail

intransitive verb
1 a 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

Examples of quail in a Sentence

  1. Other politicians quailed before him.

  2. He quailed at the thought of seeing her again.

Recent Examples of quail from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of quail

Middle English, from Middle Dutch quelen

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 (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

QUAIL Defined for English Language Learners

quail

play
noun

Definition of quail for English Language Learners

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

  • : the meat of quail eaten as food


quail

verb

Definition of quail for English Language Learners

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


QUAIL Defined for Kids

1

quail

play
noun \ ˈkwāl \

Definition of quail for Students

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

2

quail

verb

Definition of quail for Students

quailed; quailing
:to lose courage :draw back in fear


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