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quail

1
[ 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

1
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English quaille, quaylle, from Old French quaille, from Medieval Latin quaccola; imitative of its call

OTHER WORDS FROM quail

quail·like, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH quail

quail , quell, quill

Other definitions for quail (2 of 2)

quail2
[ kweyl ]
/ kweɪl /

verb (used without object)
to lose heart or courage in difficulty or danger; shrink with fear.

Origin of quail

2
1400–50; late Middle English <Middle Dutch quelen, queilen

synonym study for quail

See wince1.

OTHER WORDS FROM quail

un·quail·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use quail in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for quail (1 of 2)

quail1
/ (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

Word Origin for quail

C14: from Old French quaille, from Medieval Latin quaccula, probably of imitative origin

British Dictionary definitions for quail (2 of 2)

quail2
/ (kweɪl) /

verb
(intr) to shrink back with fear; cower

Word Origin for quail

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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