Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To put down forcibly; suppress: Police quelled the riot.
  • transitive v. To pacify; quiet: finally quelled the children's fears.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spring or fountain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. Murder.
  • n. Power or means of quelling or subduing.
  • To well or flow out.
  • n. A spring; a fountain; a source from which water wells out.

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

  • v. overcome or allay
  • v. suppress or crush completely

Etymologies

Middle English quellen, to kill, from Old English cwellan; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English cwellan ("to kill"). Compare Old Armenian կեղ (keł, "sore, ulcer"), Old Church Slavonic жаль (žalĭ, "pain"), German quälen ("to torment, agonize, smite"). (Wiktionary)
German Quelle. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 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

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

    The Guardian World News

  • 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

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

    CNN Transcript Jan 2, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    Been a long time since I had head lice though.

    May 22, 2009

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

    May 21, 2009

  • Might I suggest a medicated shampoo

    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

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

    May 21, 2009

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

    May 21, 2009