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See also: Quell



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English quellen, from Old English cwellan (to kill), from Proto-Germanic *kwaljaną (to make die; kill). Cognate with German quälen (to torment; agonise; smite), Swedish kvälja (to torment), Icelandic kvelja (to torture; torment). Compare Old also Armenian կեղ (keł, sore, ulcer), Old Church Slavonic жаль (žalĭ, pain).


quell (third-person singular simple present quells, present participle quelling, simple past and past participle quelled)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To kill. [9th-19th c.]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  2. (transitive) To subdue, to put down; to silence or force (someone) to submit. [from 10th c.]
    • Macaulay
      The nation obeyed the call, rallied round the sovereign, and enabled him to quell the disaffected minority.
    • Longfellow
      Northward marching to quell the sudden revolt.
  3. (transitive) To suppress, to put an end to (something); to extinguish. [from 14th c.]
    to quell grief
    to quell the tumult of the soul
    • 2014 December 13, Mandeep Sanghera, “Burnley 1-0 Southampton”, BBC Sport:
      However, after quelling Burnley's threat, Southampton failed to build on their growing danger culminating in Tadic's missed penalty.
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To be subdued or abated; to diminish. [16th-17th c.]
    • Spenser
      Winter's wrath begins to quell.
  5. To die.
    • Spenser
      Yet he did quake and quaver, like to quell.

Etymology 2[edit]

German Quelle.


quell (plural quells)

  1. A spring or fountain.