[ kweyl ]
/ kweɪl /
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noun, plural quails, (especially collectively) quail.

Also called true quail . any of numerous gallinaceous birds, order Galliformes, classified as either Old World quails, within the pheasant family (Phasinidae), especially the genus Coturnix, or the distantly related New World quails, comprising their own family (Odontophoridae), including the genera Colinus,Callipepla, and Odontophorus: among the most familiar true quails are the Old World king quail and the New World bobwhite.
Older Slang. a woman or girl.



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Origin of quail

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English quaille, quaylle, from Old French quaille, from Medieval Latin quaccola; imitative of its call
quail·like, adjective
quail , quell, quill

Definition for quail (2 of 2)

[ kweyl ]
/ kweɪl /

verb (used without object)

to lose heart or courage in difficulty or danger; shrink with fear.

Origin of quail

1400–50; late Middle English <Middle Dutch quelen, queilen
See wince1.
un·quail·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for quail (1 of 2)

/ (kweɪl) /

noun plural quails or quail

any small Old World gallinaceous game bird of the genus Coturnix and related genera, having a rounded body and small tail: family Phasianidae (pheasants)
any of various similar and related American birds, such as the bobwhite
C14: from Old French quaille, from Medieval Latin quaccula, probably of imitative origin

British Dictionary definitions for quail (2 of 2)

/ (kweɪl) /


(intr) to shrink back with fear; cower
C15: perhaps from Old French quailler, from Latin coāgulāre to curdle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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