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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for quail

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The thalamus is about the size and shape of a quail egg and sits deep in the brain, relaying info all around the cortex. Max G. Levy, Wired, "This Is Your Brain Under Anesthesia," 11 May 2021 There will also be dishes offered including antipasto, chicken and waffles, French toast, mini avocado toast with quail egg, lobster quiche, mushroom quiche, homestyle breakfast potatoes, Applewood bacon, maple sausage and tropical fruit. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "It’s not too early to make a restaurant reservation for Mother’s Day," 12 Apr. 2021 His menu has included Moroccan-style chicken, lobster and shrimp risotto, quail with cherry sauce, and panko parmesan tilapia, and desserts like raspberry cheesecake chimichangas, black forest cake, and cookie and cream pie. Gloria Casas, chicagotribune.com, "No bland, unimaginative meals at The Greens of Elgin thanks to the restaurant chef who’s taken over the kitchen," 20 Mar. 2021 This was supposed to be a serious late-season quail hunt after all. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "Why Rabbit Hunting Is the Most Fun You Can Have in Winter," 1 Dec. 2020 Designed to feel like a country ranch, the restaurant serves menu items like crispy green beans, rabbit & dumplings, Texas quail, and a bone-in ribeye that serves three to four. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, "Austin Travel Guide," 2 Mar. 2021 But a public-land quail hunter is nothing if not an optimist. Durrell Smith, Outdoor Life, "It’s Time to Redefine What it Means to ‘Do Our Part’ as Hunters," 29 Dec. 2020 Markets are unbowed with their gleaming-eyed oyster shuckers, their butchers taking five minutes to truss each quail, their oozing Camembert cheeses prompting debate about ripeness, their rum baba cakes with little syringes to inject the rum. New York Times, "Paris, Shuttered, Must Be Imagined," 30 Jan. 2021 Here, in my opinion, are the best shotshell loads for winter ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse, and quail. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The Best Shotgun Loads for 5 Late-Season Birds," 20 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Other poultry is well-suited to feed fewer servings, whether that’s a roast chicken, Cornish hens, duck or even quail. Washington Post, "How to host a smaller Thanksgiving while still enjoying your favorite holiday flavors," 14 Nov. 2020 Visitors can reserve a two-hour session on one of 20 different upland fields to hunt for pheasant, chucker, partridge and quail that club managers stock daily — at least until the end of April (when hunting season ends in October). Matt Villano, SFChronicle.com, "Guns and wine pair at this Bay Area shooting range," 14 Oct. 2020 Brister, who started his shotgunning career hunting doves, quail and waterfowl in Texas, was one of the best wingshooters in the world. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Old but sound advice for shotgun success: Don’t aim, just look," 13 June 2020 Biodiversity loss, aquifer drainage, ocean acidification, soil degradation, and, biggest of all, climate change—who can look at this list without quailing? National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 25 Mar. 2020 What the forms of life might be on these many worlds is a question before which even the most speculative mind may quail. Scientific American, "Beings That Are Smarter than Humans Inhabit the Galaxy," 23 Jan. 2020 Even devoted readers of literary fiction might quail before novels celebrated for their obscure, metafictional plots. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Ben Lerner’s brilliant new novel, ‘The Topeka School,’ captures America’s brutal divisions," 7 Oct. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about quail

Time Traveler for quail

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about quail

Statistics for quail

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quail. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on quail

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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