\ ˈkwil How to pronounce quill (audio) \

Definition of quill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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
2a(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


quilled; quilling; quills

Definition of quill (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pierce with quills
2a : 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 That option didn't exist when Key put quill to paper. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 10 July 2022 For the vase: Carousel is a purple quill mum that can measure up to 4 inches across. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, 9 July 2022 Place the bundle on top of the fly with the quill end over the hook eye. Aleta Burchyski, Outside Online, 20 May 2020 Lavoisier wears a plain black frock coat and sits at a table with a quill pen in his hand, and with papers and glass instruments (a gasometer, a barometer) before him. Cynthia Saltzman, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 Enamel and industrial, metallic paints, manipulated with a porcupine quill create sharp detail and rich surface textures, including coral, feathers and flowers. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Cultural educators from the Shawnee, Seneca and Onondaga nations will tell traditional stories and offer presentations and demonstrations of flint knapping, bow making and porcupine quill embroidery. Megan Becka, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 Here's a sip as captivating as the quill of the ton's most notorious covert chronicler — and every bit as mysterious. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 31 Mar. 2022 Her remit is extremely broad — anything is fair game for her critic's quill. Rhoda Feng, The Week, 12 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quill


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


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quill


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

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

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Last Updated

23 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quill. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for quill


\ ˈkwil How to pronounce quill (audio) \

Kids Definition of quill

1 : a large stiff feather of a bird's wing or tail
2 : the hollow tubelike part of a feather
3 : a hollow sharp spine of a porcupine or hedgehog
4 : a pen made from a feather


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