\ 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

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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 The decision seems unlikely to quell concerns raised in public and by lawmakers about Facebook’s power, and willingness, to distribute poisonous content worldwide. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Facebook’s non-decision on banning Trump does no one any good," 5 May 2021 For some, an extended vacation or a more flexible workweek might quell their wanderlust. New York Times, "Welcome to the YOLO Economy," 21 Apr. 2021 Still, no amount of prep can fully quell the anxiety that comes with playing someone as iconic as Michelle Obama—even for an actress as accomplished and talented as Davis. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Viola Davis Gushes About Playing "Goddess" Michelle Obama in Showtime's The First Lady," 29 Mar. 2021 His final stat line of 32 points on 11-for-24 shooting (6-for-14 from 3-point range), six assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes left little doubt: No bruise can quell Curry’s greatness. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Steph Curry brings the joy back to the Warriors in win over Bulls," 29 Mar. 2021 Although curfews are supposed to quell late-night crowding, with no venues to quench partiers’ thirst for a good time, the remaining option is to take to the streets. Olivia Mcauley, Rolling Stone, "How Spring Break Hit Miami Beach Like a Perfect Storm," 25 Mar. 2021 Wallace stepped forward to quell Charlotte’s push, netting 11 points in a stretch of about six minutes to help UTSA put away a 72-62 win in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday in Frisco. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, "Keaton Wallace's late push helps UTSA hang on against Charlotte in C-USA tournament," 10 Mar. 2021 Amid conflicting advice from city and neighborhood leaders, many are wondering whether authorities will make good on their promise to quell violence quickly, unlike last summer. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, "Downtown Minneapolis businesses torn: Project confidence or board up for Derek Chauvin trial?," 27 Feb. 2021 Thousands of demonstrators participated in anti-police demonstrations throughout the summer in Chicago and demanded changes to quell police brutality, including calls to defund the police, which faced resistance from Lightfoot. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Chicago mayor chastised for spending $281M in federal COVID-19 relief on police," 18 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for quell

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for quell

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quell. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on quell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quell

Nglish: Translation of quell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quell for Arabic Speakers

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