\ˈkwel \
quelled; quelling; quells

Definition of quell 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to thoroughly overwhelm and reduce to submission or passivity quell a riot

2 : quiet, pacify quell fears



Definition of quell (Entry 2 of 2)

1 obsolete : slaughter

2 archaic : the power of quelling

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Other Words from quell


queller noun

Examples of quell in a Sentence


the National Guard was called in to help quell the late-night disturbances downtown the principal held up her hand to quell the students so they could hear the urgent announcement

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At one point, her doctors at the VA had her taking 22 pills to help her sleep and quell her depression and anxiety. Julia Belluz, Vox, "More pregnant women are using marijuana. We don’t know if that’s safe.," 20 Nov. 2018 The training mission is the pillar of a multibillion-dollar U.S. effort here to build an Afghan military capable of defending the country and quelling terrorist threats. Craig Nelson, WSJ, "Apparent Insider Attack Kills Czech Member of U.S.-Led Coalition in Afghanistan," 22 Oct. 2018 That Penny didn’t play offensively won’t quell the debate that has raged about his selection in the first round. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Don’t look now, but between Chris Carson and Mike Davis, the Seahawks might have a running game," 8 Oct. 2018 HEMP SEED OIL Pressed from the seeds of industrial hemp plants, this supercharged moisturizer packs vitamins, minerals, and inflammation-quelling essential fatty acids. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 And with the prevailing winds blowing out all three days against the Twins, the Cubs scored 35 runs in three games to quell fears of an all-or-nothing offense. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "After scoring 46 runs in 4 games, theories abound for reasons behind Cubs' surging offense," 2 July 2018 However, this staunch denial has done nothing to quell speculation, which has gone well beyond gossip and now resembles more of a determination for the long-term couple to divorce. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Why Are We So Obsessed With Breaking Up The Last Great A-List Couple?," 15 June 2018 His appointment should quell many of the fears that open-source developers have about the takeover. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft’s plan for GitHub: “Make GitHub better at being GitHub”," 7 June 2018 While Bank Indonesia has tried to quell the investor exodus by making significant interventions in the currency and bond markets, the rupiah slumped to a fresh low of 14,213 against the dollar last week. Viriya Singgih, Bloomberg.com, "New Bank Indonesia Governor Is Wasting No Time on Rate Hikes," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quell.' 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 quell


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quell


Middle English, to kill, quell, from Old English cwellan to kill; akin to Old High German quellen to torture, kill, quāla torment, Lithuanian gelti to hurt


Middle English, from quellen to kill

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Statistics for quell

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quell

The first known use of quell was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for quell



English Language Learners Definition of quell

: to end or stop (something) usually by using force

: to calm or reduce (something, such as fear or worry)


\ˈkwel \
quelled; quelling

Kids Definition of quell

1 : to stop or end by force Police quelled a riot.

2 : quiet entry 4, calm He quelled their fears.

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More from Merriam-Webster on quell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quell

Spanish Central: Translation of quell

Nglish: Translation of quell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quell for Arabic Speakers

Comments on quell

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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