It was a sight at which the stoutest heart might have quailed, and Jason leapt back to the bank and dragged Sunlocks after him.
Father Hennepin tells us that the stout soul of La Salle quailed before the horrible tumult which threatened to engulf him.
It was before Aunt Mary's shrewd, penetrating, loving gaze that Carley quailed.
Cuchillo quailed under this terrible irony, but made no reply.
For a moment Dowson quailed before her tone; but he rallied bravely.
Snowball might have quailed under that glance, had there been time for him to take heed of it.
Bold as Captain Longfleet was, he quailed under the eye of the determined fur trader.
His form was that of a giant, but he quailed under the captain's eye.
I quailed and flinched before the painful conflict necessary to cast out the precious guest.
She used to like Tris, but these few months her love has all quailed away.
migratory game bird, late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname (Quayle), from Old French quaille (Modern French caille), perhaps via Medieval Latin quaccula (source also of Provençal calha, Italian quaglia, Old Spanish coalla), or directly from a Germanic source (cf. Dutch kwakkel, Old High German quahtala "quail," German Wachtel, Old English wihtel), imitative of the bird's cry. Or the English word might be directly from Proto-Germanic. Slang meaning "young attractive woman" first recorded 1859.
c.1400, "have a morbid craving;" early 15c., "grow feeble or sick;" mid-15c., "to fade, fail, give way," of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch quelen "to suffer, be ill," from Proto-Germanic *kwel- "to die" (see quell). Or from obsolete quail "to curdle" (late 14c.), from Old French coailler, from Latin coagulare (see coagulate). Sense of "lose heart, shrink, cower" is attested from 1550s. According to OED, common 1520-1650, then rare until 19c., when apparently it was revived by Scott. Related: Quailed; quailing.