Definition of quell in English:

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Pronunciation: /kwɛl/


[with object]
1Put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force: extra police were called to quell the disturbance
More example sentences
  • The key early win was getting an interim city council elected on May 5, only two weeks after forces arrived to begin quelling widespread disorder.
  • Existing ‘loyalist’ forces were unable to quell the rebellion and reinforcements had to be called from China.
  • Members of the 800th Military Police Brigade had to use lethal force several times to quell prisoner uprisings, the report says.
put an end to, stamp out, put a stop to, end, finish, get rid of, crush, put down, check, crack down on, curb, nip in the bud, thwart, frustrate, squash, quash, subdue, suppress, repress, quench, extinguish, stifle, abolish, terminate, beat, overcome, defeat, rout, destroy, demolish, annihilate, wipe out, extirpate
informal squelch, put the kibosh on, clobber
1.1Subdue or silence (someone): Connor quelled him with a look
More example sentences
  • After quelling the crowd somewhat, he and Mr. Timberlake gave each other a high-five.
  • He quelled James McFadden with his hardy yet wholesome intercessions.
  • Those in yellow and white candy-stripes threatened to be sweet meat for the Leith club as they found themselves being dragged every which way as they sought to quell opponents brimming with attacking invention.
1.2Suppress (a feeling): she quelled an urge to race up the stairs
More example sentences
  • Private security patrols could be deployed in the borough for the first time to quell fears of crime among residents near Wandsworth Common.
  • You'll be amazed at how much difference sunlight makes to quelling those anxious feelings.
  • I tried to stifle the thoughts, tried to quell the overwhelming feeling of being trapped in circumstances.
calm, soothe, pacify, settle, quieten, quiet, put at rest, lull, silence, put behind one, rise above, allay, appease, stay, assuage, abate, deaden, dull, tranquillize, mitigate, moderate, palliate



Example sentences
  • This idea is complicated by the presence of a mythical figure like Shoki, the demon queller.


Old English cwellan 'kill', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kwellen and German quälen.

  • kill from Middle English:

    Like kick, kill is of unknown origin, although it may be related to quell which meant ‘kill’ in Old English. To be in at the kill is to be present at or benefit from the successful conclusion of an enterprise. The image comes from the idea of the climax of a hunt. In 1814 the future William IV, contemplating the defeat of Napoleon, wrote triumphantly, ‘The game is up with Bonaparte, and I shall be in at the kill.’ Medicine in the 18th century was a risky business, hence kill or cure. Achieving two goals at once is always an attractive thought. Since the 17th century one way of expressing the idea has been to refer to the hope of bird scarers in fields that they can kill two birds with one stone. To kill someone with kindness dates back to the mid 16th century, and appeared in the title of a play of the early 17th century, Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness. The film The Killing Fields, released in 1984, dealt with the horrific events in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge dictatorship of 1975–9, when thousands of people were executed in killing fields and many more died of starvation. The term is first recorded in the early years of the 20th century and is a variation of killing ground, a place where seals were slaughtered.

Words that rhyme with quell

Adele, Aix-la-Chapelle, aquarelle, artel, au naturel, bagatelle, béchamel, befell, bell, belle, boatel, Brunel, Cadell, carousel, cartel, cell, Chanel, chanterelle, clientele, Clonmel, compel, Cornell, crime passionnel, dell, demoiselle, dispel, dwell, el, ell, Estelle, excel, expel, farewell, fell, Fidel, fontanelle, foretell, Gabrielle, gazelle, gel, Giselle, hell, hotel, impel, knell, lapel, mademoiselle, maître d'hôtel, Manuel, marcel, matériel, mesdemoiselles, Michel, Michelle, Miguel, misspell, morel, moschatel, Moselle, motel, muscatel, nacelle, Nell, Nobel, Noel, organelle, outsell, Parnell, pell-mell, personnel, propel, quenelle, rappel, Raquel, Ravel, rebel, repel, Rochelle, Sahel, sardelle, sell, shell, show-and-tell, smell, Snell, spell, spinel, swell, tell, undersell, vielle, villanelle, well, yell

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