\ ˈkwel How to pronounce quell (audio) \
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

Other Words from quell


queller noun

Examples of quell in a Sentence

Verb 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 Multiple chemicals are prescribed, often more than one similar antipsychotic simultaneously, in an attempt to quell the psyche. New York Times, 17 May 2022 The group was formed to quell the decades-long, contentious fights over forest management policies for national forest lands in the northern Sierra Nevada. Phil Willonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2022 The country's media regulator has also blocked access to many social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to quell any dissent. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 10 May 2022 As Russia wages its brutal war on Ukraine, the Kremlin is cracking down to quell dissent within its own borders. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 Back at the grocery store, food supplies were fully restored by midweek, as Beijing authorities rushed to increase shipments of fresh produce to quell residents’ worries. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Apr. 2022 The governor also sought to quell fears that a surge of interstate transplants would undo the state's conservative majority. Fox News, 15 Jan. 2022 Kelley said the enhanced services are much needed and sought to quell concerns over CEO Willie Austin’s salary by clarifying that none of the line items in the legislation would direct money toward executive pay. Robin Goist, cleveland, 6 Dec. 2021 In its statement Sunday, the CSRC also sought to quell concerns about Beijing's crackdown on Chinese firms, which have spooked investors and lead last week to a massive stock market sell-off. Steve George, CNN, 2 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for quell

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

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quell. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for quell


\ ˈkwel How to pronounce quell (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on quell

Nglish: Translation of quell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quell for Arabic Speakers


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