There are 2 main definitions of quail in English:

Share this entry

quail 1

Syllabification: quail

noun (plural same or quails)

1A small, short-tailed Old World game bird resembling a small partridge, typically having brown camouflaged plumage.
Example sentences
  • Birds such as grouse, crows, quail, partridge, nightjars, cuckoos, shrikes, larks, pipits, merlins, harriers, kestrels and buzzards would all have been seen.
  • During the past seven years, Poppy and husband Pete, who fund the sanctuary themselves, have taken scores of animals and birds under their wing, including geese, dogs, a cow, partridge, pheasant and quail.
  • Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the quail and brown all over (one to two minutes).
2A small or medium-sized New World game bird, the male of which has distinctive facial markings.
Example sentences
  • Male quail are often aggressive before and during the breeding season.
  • Callipepla californica are New World quail, birds that have chunky, rounded bodies and crests or head plumes.
  • But then a new male and female California quail strolled into the yard with a recently hatched brood of five chicks.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French quaille, from medieval Latin coacula (probably imitative of its call).

Words that rhyme with quail

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

Definition of quail in:

Share this entry

 

There are 2 main definitions of quail in English:

Share this entry

quail 2 Syllabification: quail

verb

[no object]
Feel or show fear or apprehension: she quailed at his heartless words
More example sentences
  • I knew that the arête would have to be surmounted and I quailed in fear.
  • So I stayed there, and the cat joined me, and we quailed and quaked and waited for it to stop.
  • I remember quailing in horror at the American charts in those days.
Synonyms
cower, cringe, flinch, shrink, recoil, shy (away), pull back;
shiver, tremble, shake, quake, blench

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense 'waste away, come to nothing'): of unknown origin.

Definition of quail in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources