\ 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 District is attempting to quell those dangers, employing more adults to monitor students on their commutes and ramping up security. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "‘It makes me angry’: For D.C. students, safe passage to school can prove elusive," 6 July 2019 Sarri's neglect of Hudson-Odoi was a source of much discord amongst the Chelsea fanbase, although the player's dissatisfaction was seemingly quelled by an extended run in the team towards the tail end of the season. SI.com, "Bayern Munich Renew Interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi as Chelsea Contract Talks Continue," 28 June 2019 So will Toy Story 4 and other movies that play better on big screens quell Hollywood’s dread over its declining numbers? Dan Reilly, Fortune, "Can ‘Toy Story 4’ Defeat Streaming and Rescue Theaters From a Summer Slump?," 21 June 2019 Irving has increasingly been linked to the Brooklyn Nets, and other reports Wednesday will hardly quell that speculation. Des Bieler, The Denver Post, "The Lakers might just pull off an Anthony Davis trade this time," 13 June 2019 But that did not quell the investigation -- or continuing reports by the Union-Tribune about his specific expenses. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Margaret Hunter admits guilt in campaign-finance scandal," 13 June 2019 To quell concerns about whether city officials could misspend the money, Hollywood commissioners agreed in December to appoint 15 residents to the oversight advisory committee. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "Wanted: Teen to keep tabs on $165 million," 12 June 2019 After the rebellion was quelled, thirty-eight Dakota were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass execution in US history. David Treuer, Harper's magazine, "2020 Vision," 10 Jan. 2019 Since then, Xi has overseen the most extensive effort in recent years to quell Xinjiang, appointing in 2016 the former Tibet party boss Chen Quanguo to lead the troubled region bordering Afghanistan. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 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

9 Jul 2019

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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

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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