\ 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


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 budget that goes before BART’s board next week features a patchwork of strategies to quell fare evasion: station ambassadors, higher railings, elevator attendants, outreach teams and 19 new police officers. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "BART ‘blitz’ on fare cheats gets results: More ticket sales, fewer police calls," 7 June 2019 So were those at Wednesday’s vigil, who called for the city to shut down the gas station and adjoining car wash at the troublesome intersection as a means of quelling the crime. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dozens gather to remember 13-year-old slain in Pleasant Grove as Dallas' violent crime surge continues," 5 June 2019 In a move the following morning to quell the controversy, Biden released the records to the public. Author: Neena Satija, Anchorage Daily News, "Echoes of Biden’s 1987 plagiarism scandal continue to reverberate," 5 June 2019 A decade ago, her mom had tried everything else to quell the pain of fibromyalgia. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Most doctors won’t OK Missouri medical marijuana requests. But these KC clinics will," 4 June 2019 Last month, members of the Congressional Black Caucus split with the party majority over a resolution meant to quell a controversy over remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that were widely perceived as invoking anti-Semitism. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "Lawmakers launch congressional black-Jewish caucus," 4 June 2019 The teenage Nobel Peace Prize nominee began her speech by referencing the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that listed 2030 as a target for reducing emissions in order to quell the potential for climate catastrophe. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Greta Thunberg Schooled World Leaders Again and Called On Everyone to Climate Strike at R20 Summit," 29 May 2019 Victoria Arbiter thinks they will, if only to quell the rabid interest in unsanctioned pictures. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Might Not Pose for Hospital Photos With Their Newborn Baby," 4 Apr. 2019 Treating his departure as a state secret won't quell these doubts. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "After questions raised about CalPERS CFO's background and experience, he's 'no longer with' the pension fund," 21 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

11 Jun 2019

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 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

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

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