Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: quell
Pronunciation: /kwel

Definition of quell in English:


[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, put a stop to, end, crush, put down, check, crack down on, curb, nip in the bud, squash, quash, subdue, suppress, overcome
informal squelch
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, especially an unpleasant one): he spoke up again to quell any panic among the assembled youngsters
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, quiet, silence, allay, assuage, mitigate, moderate
literary stay


Old English cwellan 'kill', of Germanic origin; related to German quälen 'torture'.



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

Definition of quell in:

Share this entry

Share this page


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 ads and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: jônt
a short excursion or journey for pleasure