[ kwahm, kwawm ]
See synonyms for: qualmqualms on Thesaurus.com

  1. an uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct; compunction: He has no qualms about lying.

  2. a sudden feeling of apprehensive uneasiness; misgiving: a sudden qualm about the success of the venture.

  1. a sudden sensation or onset of faintness or illness, especially of nausea.

Origin of qualm

First recorded in 1520–30; origin uncertain

Words Nearby qualm

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use qualm in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for qualm


/ (kwɑːm) /

  1. a sudden feeling of sickness or nausea

  2. a pang or sudden feeling of doubt, esp concerning moral conduct; scruple

  1. a sudden sensation of misgiving or unease

Origin of qualm

Old English cwealm death or plague; related to Old High German qualm despair, Dutch kwalm smoke, stench

Derived forms of qualm

  • qualmish, adjective
  • qualmishly, adverb
  • qualmishness, noun

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