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quail1

[kweyl] /kweɪl/
noun, plural quails (especially collectively) quail.
1.
a small, migratory, gallinaceous game bird, Coturnix coturnix, of the Old World.
2.
any of several other birds of the genus Coturnix and allied genera.
3.
any of various New World gallinaceous game birds of the genus Colinus and allied genera, especially the bobwhite.
4.
Slang. a woman or girl.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English quaille < Old French < Germanic; compare Dutch kwakkel quail, Middle Dutch, Middle Low German quackele; akin to quack1
Related forms
quaillike, adjective

quail2

[kweyl] /kweɪl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to lose heart or courage in difficulty or danger; shrink with fear.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle Dutch quelen, queilen
Related forms
unquailing, adjective
Synonyms
recoil, flinch, blench, cower. See wince1 .
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for quail
  • But I neither quiver nor quail.
  • His beloved English setter waits for the chance to hunt pheasant and quail.
  • After returning home he goes quail shooting every two weeks without fail.
  • The greater sage grouse, looking much like an oversize quail, is declining
  • If you find a shop with fresh pheasant, pigeon or quail, ask the butcher to hang them for a day or two.
  • The skewers came with heads-on shrimp, tiny quail eggs and scallops wrapped in dry-cured ham, among other fusion forays.
  • They also eat such wildlife as deer and quail and feast on the eggs of endangered sea turtles.
  • Amazing footage of quail chicks in a space station.
  • She seemed to quail, holding her face away from him yet presenting her hips.
  • With shrill whistle the note of the quail, the bob-white.
British Dictionary definitions for quail

quail1

/kweɪl/
noun (pl) quails, quail
1.
any small Old World gallinaceous game bird of the genus Coturnix and related genera, having a rounded body and small tail: family Phasianidae (pheasants)
2.
any of various similar and related American birds, such as the bobwhite
Word Origin
C14: from Old French quaille, from Medieval Latin quaccula, probably of imitative origin

quail2

/kweɪl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to shrink back with fear; cower
Word Origin
C15: perhaps from Old French quailler, from Latin coāgulāre to curdle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quail
n.

migratory game bird, late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname (Quayle), from Old French quaille (Modern French caille), perhaps via Medieval Latin quaccula (source also of Provençal calha, Italian quaglia, Old Spanish coalla), or directly from a Germanic source (cf. Dutch kwakkel, Old High German quahtala "quail," German Wachtel, Old English wihtel), imitative of the bird's cry. Or the English word might be directly from Proto-Germanic. Slang meaning "young attractive woman" first recorded 1859.

v.

c.1400, "have a morbid craving;" early 15c., "grow feeble or sick;" mid-15c., "to fade, fail, give way," of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch quelen "to suffer, be ill," from Proto-Germanic *kwel- "to die" (see quell). Or from obsolete quail "to curdle" (late 14c.), from Old French coailler, from Latin coagulare (see coagulate). Sense of "lose heart, shrink, cower" is attested from 1550s. According to OED, common 1520-1650, then rare until 19c., when apparently it was revived by Scott. Related: Quailed; quailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for quail

quail

noun
  1. An attractive young woman; chick: a lovely little quail from Arkansas (1859+ Students)
  2. A cornet or trumpet: Listen to that kid blow that quail (1950s+ Jazz musicians)
Related Terms

san quentin quail


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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