follow Dictionary.com

How do you spell Hannukah?

qualm

[kwahm, kwawm] /kwɑm, kwɔm/
noun
1.
an uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct; compunction:
He has no qualms about lying.
2.
a sudden feeling of apprehensive uneasiness; misgiving:
a sudden qualm about the success of the venture.
3.
a sudden sensation or onset of faintness or illness, especially of nausea.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for qualm
  • My biggest qualm with the debate is people's perceptions.
  • When she wanted additional funds, she disposed of cherished possessions, seemingly without a qualm.
  • They used, without qualm, whatever instruments they found at hand.
  • It wasn't a question of moral qualm; just lack of know-how.
  • My qualm with this article is the manner in which the author chooses to present his material.
  • They accept the market's complexity without qualm, yet insist the complexity of biological phenomena requires a designer.
  • When the script calls for wry and ribald humor, she flips it without a modest qualm.
  • The lure of price controls is easy to deduce, they offer easy solutions to policy makers and qualm public fears in the short run.
British Dictionary definitions for qualm

qualm

/kwɑːm/
noun
1.
a sudden feeling of sickness or nausea
2.
a pang or sudden feeling of doubt, esp concerning moral conduct; scruple
3.
a sudden sensation of misgiving or unease
Derived Forms
qualmish, adjective
qualmishly, adverb
qualmishness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cwealm death or plague; related to Old High German qualm despair, Dutch kwalm smoke, stench
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for qualm
n.

Old English cwealm (West Saxon) "death, murder, slaughter; disaster; plague; torment," utcualm (Anglian) "utter destruction," probably related to cwellan "to kill, murder, execute," cwelan "to die" (see quell). Sense softened to "feeling of faintness" 1520s; figurative meaning "uneasiness, doubt" is from 1550s; that of "scruple of conscience" is 1640s.

Evidence of a direct path from the Old English to the modern senses is wanting, but it is plausible, via the notion of "fit of sickness." The other suggested etymology, less satisfying, is to take the "fit of uneasiness" sense from Dutch kwalm "steam, vapor, mist" (cognate with German Qualm "smoke, vapor, stupor"), which also might be ultimately from the same Germanic root as quell.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for qualm

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for qualm

16
19
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with qualm