• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to slake, satisfy, or allay (thirst, desires, passion, etc.).
  2. to put out or extinguish (fire, flames, etc.).
  3. to cool suddenly by plunging into a liquid, as in tempering steel by immersion in water.
  4. to subdue or destroy; overcome; quell: to quench an uprising.
  5. Electronics. to terminate (the flow of electrons in a vacuum tube) by application of a voltage.
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Origin of quench

1150–1200; Middle English quenchen, earlier cwenken; compare Old English -cwencan in ācwencan to quench (cf. a-3)
Related formsquench·a·ble, adjectivequench·a·ble·ness, nounquench·er, nounun·quench·a·ble, adjectiveun·quenched, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for quenching

dampen, suppress, quell, quash, douse, satiate, appease, assuage, slake, sate, alleviate, allay, demolish, moisten, end, annihilate, wreck, shatter, ruin, dismantle

Examples from the Web for quenching

Historical Examples of quenching

  • We fools are compromising the safety of all by quenching this light.

    Christopher Columbus and His Monument Columbia


  • One of the qualities of this wine is that in quenching thirst it produces yet a greater.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • From boyhood up he is preparing it, or else he is quenching it in darkness.

    St. Cuthbert's

    Robert E. Knowles

  • This is best done by heating to a full red and quenching in mercury.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • Everything was unheeded but the mad raging desire of quenching their thirst.

British Dictionary definitions for quenching


verb (tr)
  1. to satisfy (one's thirst, desires, etc); slake
  2. to put out (a fire, flame, etc); extinguish
  3. to put down or quell; suppressto quench a rebellion
  4. to cool (hot metal) by plunging it into cold water
  5. physics to reduce the degree of (luminescence or phosphorescence) in (excited molecules or a material) by adding a suitable substance
  6. electronics
    1. to suppress (sparking) when the current is cut off in an inductive circuit
    2. to suppress (an oscillation or discharge) in a component or device
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Derived Formsquenchable, adjectivequencher, nounquenchless, adjective

Word Origin for quench

Old English ācwencan to extinguish; related to Old Frisian quinka to vanish
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 quenching



Old English acwencan "to quench" (of fire, light), from Proto-Germanic *cwandjan, probably a causative form of root of Old English cwincan "to go out, be extinguished," Old Frisian kwinka. Related: Quenched; quenching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quenching in Medicine


  1. The process of extinguishing, removing, or diminishing a physical property such as heat or light.
  2. The shifting of the energy spectrum from a true to a lower energy that occurs in liquid scintillation counting of beta emissions; caused by interfering materials in the counting solution, including foreign chemicals.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.