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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
Can be confused
quail, quell, quill.

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 quails
  • Many ground birds, such as quails and pheasants, roost in trees.
British Dictionary definitions for quails

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 quails

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 quails

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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quails in the Bible

The Israelites were twice relieved in their privation by a miraculous supply of quails, (1) in the wilderness of Sin (Ex. 16:13), and (2) again at Kibroth-hattaavah (q.v.), Num. 11:31. God "rained flesh upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea" (Ps. 78:27). The words in Num. 11:31, according to the Authorized Version, appear to denote that the quails lay one above another to the thickness of two cubits above the ground. The Revised Version, however, reads, "about two cubits above the face of the earth", i.e., the quails flew at this height, and were easily killed or caught by the hand. Being thus secured in vast numbers by the people, they "spread them all abroad" (11:32) in order to salt and dry them. These birds (the Coturnix vulgaris of naturalists) are found in countless numbers on the shores of the Mediterranean, and their annual migration is an event causing great excitement.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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15
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