\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

The England boss could have opted to bring on a more defensively-minded midfielder for Lingard or Alli, but that would have no doubt quelled the Three Lions' own attacking threat. SI.com, "England's Inconsistent Performance Against Nigeria Highlights Problems With 3-5-2 Formation," 4 June 2018 Sound in all thirds, the Boxers proved that no team in the state could quell their offensive ability. BostonGlobe.com, "High school boys' soccer rankings," 7 May 2018 Freezing, like a possum, playing dead in hopes that the predator loses interest and goes away. Appeasing, like a dog rolling on its back for a more aggressive dog, in hopes that its show of submission will quell aggression. Marissa Korbel, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sometimes You Make Your Rapist Breakfast," 25 Apr. 2018 Inhale this: Studies show a whiff of ginger can quell nausea and vomiting without any of the side effects that come with over-the-counter meds. Allison Young, Good Housekeeping, "6 Best Essential Oils To Help You On Your Summer Travels," 7 July 2017 Jose Altuve bounced into a double play that quelled the uprising. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros held scoreless in loss to A's," 10 July 2018 The absence of a popular mandate for tax cuts – and the presence of a public health emergency that could only be quelled through federal investment in addiction treatment – changed nothing. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The GOP Raised Taxes on Churches to Fund Its Giveaway to the Rich," 26 June 2018 Quincy the Queensland koala has been equipped with the latest blood sugar monitor, hopefully quelling a quandary for the diabetic marsupial. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Quincy the San Diego Zoo's diabetic koala, gets help from Dexcom," 25 June 2018 However, just days later, they're spotted on vacation in Mexico together, which quells the breakup rumors. Nov 10, 2017 E! Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Timeline of Scott Disick and Sofia Richie's Relationship," 6 June 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

15 Oct 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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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 reject or criticize sharply

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