\ 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

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 Wickremesinghe also offered to resign to quell growing unrest, but his offer did not placate irate protesters, who set his home ablaze. Hafeel Farisz, BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2022 Earlier in the evening, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had offered to resign to quell growing unrest, but his offer did not placate irate protesters who set his home ablaze. Niha Masih, Washington Post, 9 July 2022 In June 2020, China’s national legislature sought to quell that unrest by enacting a sweeping new National Security Law for Hong Kong that has been used to all but eliminate the city's pro-democracy opposition. Clay Chandler, Fortune, 30 June 2022 The draft document, titled as a framework agreement on security cooperation, said the Solomon Islands could ask China to send armed police and military personnel to quell unrest, among other missions, including disaster response. David Winning, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2022 Trudeau's prime minister father, Pierre Trudeau, famously invoked Canada's War Measures Act in October 1970 to quell separatist unrest in Quebec. NBC News, 12 Feb. 2022 The promise of temporary raises for teachers earlier in the week, however, did little to quell the deepening unrest. New York Times, 10 Feb. 2022 Like his father, Henry reissued and signed the Magna Carta, which guaranteed certain legal and property rights, to quell unrest among the English barons. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Jan. 2022 The National Guard was deployed to quell the unrest as the city grapples with threats of violence stemming from the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing Floyd. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, 19 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quell. Accessed 20 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for quell


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on quell

Nglish: Translation of quell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quell for Arabic Speakers


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