\ 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

But the report is unlikely to quell the political debate in Congress and elsewhere over whether President Trump improperly sought to thwart the Russia investigation. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "The Law Behind Mueller’s Findings on Obstruction, Collusion," 18 Apr. 2019 Other opponents worry that additional investigations will unfairly constrict American companies and actually help foreign countries, and say that existing export control laws are sufficient to quell national security concerns. New York Times, "What Would an Expanded Foreign Investment Committee Do?," 27 June 2018 While Duterte says the move is necessary to boost economic growth and quell a decades-long Muslim insurgency, his opponents see it as a ploy to stay in power. Bloomberg.com, "Duterte's Bid to Give Away Power Raises Eyebrows in Manila," 7 Feb. 2018 Paruta's solution to quelling the anger: Make the streetcar free to ride and have churches in Over-the-Rhine gather around the route and pray for the curse to be lifted. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX: Is Cincinnati's streetcar cursed? Here's what Bible scholar, psychic have to say," 22 Jan. 2018 The nascent initiative has been an intense focus in recent weeks and includes taking steps to change state party rules, crowd out potential rivals and quell any early signs of opposition that could embarrass the president. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump campaign takes steps to prevent a challenge within GOP," 4 Feb. 2019 Hoping to quell concerns, the company included a mic/camera disable button on both Portal devices, as well as a physical camera cover. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Facebook unveils smart displays, promises not to snoop on your video calls," 8 Oct. 2018 Government troops fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to quell the protests while authorities restricted movement in old quarters of the city. Fox News, "Clashes erupt around Kashmir after Indian troops kill man," 27 Sep. 2018 In response, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered to send federal assistance to quell the violence, as local police faced criticism for failing to tamp down the demonstrations and counterdemonstrations. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Far-right rallies in Germany descend into violence," 28 Aug. 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

14 May 2019

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Time Traveler for quell

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

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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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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