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

Made with both chicken and pork bones, squid and shrimp make an appearance here along with ground pork, thinly sliced pork loin and quail eggs. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Vietnamese restaurant in Louisville is about to be your new favorite," 5 June 2019 An approximately 8,400-acre quail plantation in central Georgia is coming on the market for $39 million, which real estate veterans said makes it the most expensive ranch property for sale in the region. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Gigantic Quail Plantation in Georgia Asks $39 Million," 28 Jan. 2019 While this year’s turkey nesting effort is pretty much determined, the die isn’t yet cast for quail. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Texas summer a key factor in wildlife cycle," 17 May 2018 Think beet and strawberry salad with horseradish goat cheese and pistachio vinaigrette, fried quail with Calabrian chile, and charred asparagus and mushroom flatbread with white truffle cream. Celestina Blok, star-telegram, "'Perch' is coming to downtown high-rise, free coffee on May 29, and more food news | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Apr. 2018 Dry the quail with paper towels and lay them breast-side down on a board. Devon S. Fredericks, House Beautiful, "Your New Favorite Quail Recipe," 1 July 2014 Order the quail and pork belly roasted over carob wood. Condé Nast Traveler, "A Perfect Weekend in Baja's Wine Country," 28 Sep. 2018 Researchers from the University of Texas, Austin and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing compared and contrasted mouth anatomy in several ancient reptiles to their modern descendants, like bobwhite quails and alligators. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Dinosaurs Could Barely Use Their Tongues," 20 June 2018 The quail and their eggs came from a farm in New Jersey, and so did the butter, which had a higher percentage of fat than could be found anywhere in New York and was delivered in 50-pound blocks in the trunk of a car. Jay Cheshes, Town & Country, "Caviar and Cocaine," 6 Feb. 2013

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

13 Jun 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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