\ 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 His sizable margins of victory over Bernie Sanders in key primary states like Michigan should quell legitimacy concerns. Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Joe Biden Relying on "Big Hollywood Bundlers" as Pandemic Upends Campaign," 27 Mar. 2020 But lately, my go-tos couldn’t quell the anxiety triggered by calamitous news updates. Magdalena Puniewska, WSJ, "Struggling to Sleep? These High-Tech Headbands Could Help," 26 Mar. 2020 Refined Yet Raw The GT's softer engine mounts help quell more of the V-8's vibrations than other models, and its exhaust system exits under the rear bumper to help make room for a real cargo area under the rear hatch. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 McLaren GT Is Still Very Much a McLaren," 26 Mar. 2020 Public panic over the release could have been quelled by simple adjustments to standards for patient release. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "She was released from a hospital in San Antonio with coronavirus still in her system. Weeks later, she doesn’t appear to have infected anyone.," 20 Mar. 2020 Any of those scenarios would suffice because that would mean there is basketball, which would mean COVID-19 will at least somewhat have been quelled. Dallas News, "Can the NBA realistically resume its season after third player contracts the coronavirus? Odds are not good," 14 Mar. 2020 Trump's attempt to reassure also did not quell economic jitters, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping sharply Thursday for a fourth day in a row. Ben Gittleson, ABC News, "Trump, Pence try to manage coronavirus response amid new fears it could spread," 27 Feb. 2020 The Wolverines quelled several potential Purdue runs. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball hitting its stride in win streak — and they're doing it with defense," 23 Feb. 2020 Later that year, the army quelled a coup attempt by opposition members and some air force officers. Tom Odula, BostonGlobe.com, "Former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi is dead at age 95," 5 Feb. 2020

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

1 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quell. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for quell


How to pronounce quell (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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