quill

1 of 2

noun

1
a(1)
: a bobbin, spool, or spindle on which filling yarn is wound
(2)
: a hollow shaft often surrounding another shaft and used in various mechanical devices
b
: a roll of dried bark
cinnamon quills
2
a(1)
: the hollow horny shaft of a feather see feather illustration
(2)
: feather
especially : one of the large stiff feathers of the wing or tail
b
: one of the hollow sharp spines of a porcupine or hedgehog
3
: something made from or resembling the quill of a feather
especially : a pen for writing
4
: a float for a fishing line

quill

2 of 2

verb

quilled; quilling; quills

transitive verb

1
: to pierce with quills
2
a
: to wind (thread or yarn) on a quill
b
: to make a series of small rounded ridges in (cloth)

Examples of quill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Some boast tiger stripes or dorsal fins that resemble porcupine quills. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2024 Excited by the discovery, Berger hired an additional team of six women with both scientific and caving experience to excavate the site (using toothpicks and sometimes porcupine quills, among other tools). Samuel Axon and Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 5 June 2023 What ensues among them becomes a picaresque of sorts, arrayed in quills and cashmere. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 26 Oct. 2023 This is different from the full quill flower form, which is almost always seen only in florist or decorative mums. Viveka Neveln, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 Aug. 2023 Areas of pale and white fur on the platypus, koala, bilby and Tasmanian devil glowed, as did the white quills and pouch skin of the short-beaked echidna and parts of the southern hairy-nosed wombat’s pale fur. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023 His shapely Forget-Me-Not gown was also shaped out of blue feathers and held together by turkey quills. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 30 Aug. 2023 But those days seem as distant as when bills were written with quill pens. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 8 Jan. 2023 Hana has a habit of picking up feathers to give to the village chief, who makes them into quills to pluck at the strings of a harpsichord. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 4 Sep. 2023
Verb
Then Kekere-Ekun will quill piece by piece using colored paper, ribbons and parts of canvases before it's eventually completed. CNN, 2 Nov. 2022 Visitors can view a variety of media including textiles—such as Navajo artist D.Y. Begay’s Southwest landscape painting on wool—beadwork, sculpture, photography, film and even clothing attire such as beaded and quilled Louboutin shoes. Lily Katzman, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2020 For six weeks last summer the DC-8 and a pair of Twin Otters similarly quilled with atmospheric-sampling instruments flew through more than 100 different columns. Kyle Dickman, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2020 While pens, pencils, and quills still work magic on a piece of paper, writing utensils for your bullet journal can be a pain to carry around. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, 31 Jan. 2020 Visitors can browse through more than 2,000 displays in other media, including decorative gourds, metal, wood, glass, jewelry, quilled greeting cards, handmade clothing and accessories. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English quil hollow reed, bobbin; akin to Middle High German kil large feather

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of quill was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near quill

Cite this Entry

“Quill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quill. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

quill

noun
ˈkwil
1
a
: the hollow tubelike part of a feather
b
: one of the large stiff feathers of the wing or tail
2
: one of the hollow sharp spines of a porcupine or hedgehog
3
: a pen made from a feather
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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