from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To put down forcibly; suppress.
  • transitive verb To pacify; quiet.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Murder.
  • noun Power or means of quelling or subduing.
  • noun A spring; a fountain; a source from which water wells out.
  • To well or flow out.
  • To cause to die; put to death; kill; slay.
  • To cause to cease; subdue; crush: as, to quell an insurrection.
  • To reduce to peace or inaction; quiet; allay.
  • To dash out; destroy.
  • Synonyms To overpower, put down, lay, smother.
  • To calm, compose.
  • To die; perish.
  • To abate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To die.
  • intransitive verb rare To be subdued or abated; to yield; to abate.
  • noun obsolete Murder.
  • transitive verb obsolete To take the life of; to kill.
  • transitive verb To overpower; to subdue; to put down.
  • transitive verb To quiet; to allay; to pacify; to cause to yield or cease

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A spring or fountain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb overcome or allay
  • verb suppress or crush completely


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English quellen, to kill, from Old English cwellan; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English cwellan ("to kill"). Compare Old Armenian կեղ (keł, "sore, ulcer"), Old Church Slavonic жаль (žalĭ, "pain"), German quälen ("to torment, agonize, smite").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

German Quelle.


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  • Errahman, and Vizier and Sultan amuse themselves by undertaking plundering expeditions against insurrectionary tribes, whose sedition they first stimulate, and then quell, that is to say, by receiving from the unlucky rebels a handsome gratification.

    Travels in Morocco 2003

  • November, Sony Music issued a track called quell rumours that some of Jackson's vocals on the album were "fake".

    The Guardian World News Sean Michaels 2010

  • Is the expectation is he is trying to kind of quell that emotional outburst?

    CNN Transcript Jan 2, 2008 2008

  • I think actually he reached out very aggressively basically to the right during the campaign, kind of quell these fears that he was soft on Israel.

    CNN Transcript Dec 30, 2008 2008

  • The only way to "quell" al Queda and other terrorist organisations is to send black ops to destroy the terrorist cells and so called "madrasas" that are teaching twisted definitions of shahid and jihad.

    The New American 2009

  • Some critics of the federal government plans involving local police agencies and churches cite FEMA's attempt to "quell" dissent and facilitate the confiscation of guns from private citizens.

    Infowars 2009

  • Thus, as we have noted, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a practicing Mormon, had to quell concerns about his religion during his presidential bid in 2008.

    American Grace Robert D. Putnam 2010

  • But once it was official, they were individually summoned onto a stage to discuss their Hall of Fame inclusion, they both had to stop in mid-sentence on several occasions in an attempt to quell the tear drops.

    Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith lead NFL's 2010 Hall of Fame class 2010

  • For instance, virtually all teams, even at the very highest level, will, when the opponents are attacking and one of the defenders can get his foot on the ball, will simply whack it, hard, up the field to quell the danger.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » 2010 » March 2010

  • Demonstrators led by students demanding cheaper and better state education blocked roads and lit fires as police used water cannons and tear gas to quell the latest outcry against the conservative billionaire.

    Chile hit by violent protests 2011


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  • ex.- Mr. Del Valle quelled the classroom commotion by banging his chair several times on the floor.

    May 21, 2009

  • What a lovely word. It magnificently holds inside itself the quiet it seeks to establish.

    May 21, 2009

  • Sorry I'm late, sir, I was quelling a native with, ah, quells.

    —Capt. Hugh Jampton, 'The Battle of Spion Kop', The Goon Show

    May 21, 2009

  • Might I suggest a medicated shampoo

    May 21, 2009

  • If the current Pope said it, it would sound like qvell.

    May 21, 2009

  • The shampoo, I believe, is spelled "Kwell."

    Been a long time since I had head lice though.

    May 22, 2009