rolled or incurved into a narrow tubular form.

Origin of quilled

First recorded in 1720–30; quill + -ed3




one of the large feathers of the wing or tail of a bird.
the hard, hollow, basal part of a feather.
a feather, as of a goose, formed into a pen for writing.
one of the hollow spines on a porcupine or hedgehog.
a plectrum of a harpsichord.
a roll of bark, as of cinnamon, formed in drying.
a reed or other hollow stem on which yarn is wound.
a bobbin or spool.
a toothpick.
  1. a hollow shaft or sleeve through which another independently rotating shaft may pass.
  2. a shaft, joined to and supported by two other shafts or machines, for transmitting motion from one to the other.
  3. a rotating toolholder used in boring or facing internal angles.
a musical pipe, especially one made from a hollow reed.

verb (used with object)

  1. to arrange (fabric) in flutes or cylindrical ridges, as along the edge of a garment, hem, etc.
  2. to wind on a quill, as yarn.
to penetrate with, or as if with, a quill or quills.
to extract a quill or quills from: to quill a duck before cooking it.

Origin of quill

1375–1425; late Middle English quil; compare Low German quiele, German Kiel
Related formsquill-like, adjective
Can be confusedquail quell quill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quilled

Historical Examples of quilled

  • At its feeble cry, Kaug, the porcupine, raised his quilled head.

    The Mystery of Choice

    Robert William Chambers

  • If their cousins whom we found just now were like Chrysanthemums, these are like quilled Dahlias.


    Charles Kingsley

  • Used to blazon the quills of feathers: thus, a blue feather having its quill golden is blazoned—A feather az., quilled or.

  • In one hand was a wand of red-dyed wood with a beaded and quilled amulet at the end.

    The Lions of the Lord

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Yolanda's wonderful "t" was certainly the most stupendous single letter ever quilled.

British Dictionary definitions for quilled



  1. any of the large stiff feathers of the wing or tail of a bird
  2. the long hollow central part of a bird's feather; calamus
a bird's feather made into a pen for writing
any of the stiff hollow spines of a porcupine or hedgehog
a device, formerly usually made from a crow quill, for plucking a harpsichord string
angling a length of feather barb stripped of barbules and used for the body of some artificial flies
a small roll of bark, esp one of dried cinnamon
(in weaving) a bobbin or spindle
a fluted fold, as in a ruff
a hollow shaft that rotates upon an inner spindle or concentrically about an internal shaft

verb (tr)

to wind (thread, yarn, etc) onto a spool or bobbin
to make or press fluted folds in (a ruff)

Word Origin for quill

C15 (in the sense: hollow reed or pipe): of uncertain origin; compare Middle Low German quiele quill
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 quilled



c.1400, "piece of reed or hollow stem of a feather," probably related to Middle High German kil "quill," from Low German quiele, of unknown origin. Meaning "pen made from a (goose) quill" is from 1550s; that of "porcupine spine" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quilled in Science



The hollow shaft of a feather, the bottom of which attaches to the bird's skin.
One of the sharp hollow spines of a porcupine or hedgehog.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.