\ 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 governor came under Republican criticism last summer for not sending in the Guard sooner to quell the unrest. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "Minnesota House pulls $35M security fund for officer trials," 15 Feb. 2021 In his recent budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz included a special $4.2 million item for security during the trial, as well as a $35 million fund to reimburse local law enforcement agencies that may be called upon to quell unrest. New York Times, "Why William Barr Rejected a Plea Deal in the George Floyd Killing," 10 Feb. 2021 No major artworks were reported damaged, despite the violent demonstrations inside the building by Trump supporters that took the Capitol Police nearly four hours to quell. Sarah Bahr, BostonGlobe.com, "First inventory of damage to US Capitol building released," 9 Jan. 2021 Reminding them about my four-legged travel buddy did nothing to quell their unease. Washington Post, "John Steinbeck’s classic travelogue showcases man’s best road trip buddy," 31 Dec. 2020 Companies can take steps to quell tensions and avoid interpersonal awkwardness, to blunt the development of employee camps, so to speak. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Can companies help working parents without alienating everyone else?," 29 Dec. 2020 That move did nothing to quell the reports that Harden still wanted to be traded, and the scrutiny only intensified when the 2018 MVP didn’t report to camp on time. Kristie Rieken, Anchorage Daily News, "NBA game postponed on season’s second day over positive coronavirus tests and Harden safety violation," 24 Dec. 2020 Maybe Warners will cut these massively wealthy people a few checks to quell the noise, who knows. Nina Metz, chicagotribune.com, "Year in review: 2020 was the Year of Streaming, both a windfall and a glut.," 14 Dec. 2020 Arizona fell to 0-4 and did nothing to quell the rampant speculation about third-year coach Kevin Sumlin’s future. Michael Lev, The Arizona Republic, "Big plays can't prevent Arizona football from losing 11th straight," 6 Dec. 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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

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