quail

2
[kweyl]

Origin of quail

2
1400–50; late Middle English < Middle Dutch quelen, queilen
Related formsun·quail·ing, adjective

Synonyms for quail

Synonym study

See wince1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for quailing

Historical Examples of quailing

  • Lady Luce caught her by the shoulders and glared into her quailing eyes.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills

    Charles Garvice

  • And instead of quailing, she looked at him with flashing eyes.

    In Kings' Byways

    Stanley J. Weyman

  • The quailing Leaf tried to look as if he had lived nowhere at all.

  • How would it not grieve him could he hear of them as now quailing before Hector?

  • Quailing inside his force shell, Scorio saw his men go, one by one.

    Empire

    Clifford Donald Simak


British Dictionary definitions for quailing

quail

1
noun plural quails or quail
  1. any small Old World gallinaceous game bird of the genus Coturnix and related genera, having a rounded body and small tail: family Phasianidae (pheasants)
  2. 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

quail

2
verb
  1. (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

Word Origin and History for quailing

quail

n.

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.

quail

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper