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 qvälja (“to kill”), Icelandic kvelja (“to torture; torment”). Compare Old also Armenian կեղ (keł, “sore, ulcer”), Old Church Slavonic жаль (žalĭ, “pain”).
- (obsolete, transitive) To kill. [9th-19th c.]
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
- (transitive) To subdue, to put down; to silence or force (someone) to submit. [from 10th c.]
- The nation obeyed the call, rallied round the sovereign, and enabled him to quell the disaffected minority.
- Northward marching to quell the sudden revolt.
- (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.
- (obsolete, intransitive) To be subdued or abated; to diminish. [16th-17th c.]
- Winter's wrath begins to quell.
- To die.
- Yet he did quake and quaver, like to quell.
quell (plural quells)