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[kwench] /kwɛntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to slake, satisfy, or allay (thirst, desires, passion, etc.).
to put out or extinguish (fire, flames, etc.).
to cool suddenly by plunging into a liquid, as in tempering steel by immersion in water.
to subdue or destroy; overcome; quell:
to quench an uprising.
Electronics. to terminate (the flow of electrons in a vacuum tube) by application of a voltage.
Origin of quench
1150-1200; Middle English quenchen, earlier cwenken; compare Old English -cwencan in ācwencan to quench (cf. a-3)
Related forms
quenchable, adjective
quenchableness, noun
quencher, noun
unquenchable, adjective
unquenched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for quench
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They make the spirit in the body quiver; They quench the Light!

  • Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • Of still another:—'He could quench a candle at the other side of the kitchen with a curse.'

  • So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.

  • He shall not advertise Himself nor quench a single smouldering wick.

    Faces in the Fire Frank W. Boreham
  • The heat, however, produced thirst, and no water was near in which we could quench it.

    The Rambles of a Rat A. L. O. E.
  • He took out his flask, now so dim, hoping to quench the terrible thirst that was overpowering him; but alas!

    That Little Beggar E. King Hall
  • A single bucket of water will not quench my thirst; give me more!

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
British Dictionary definitions for quench


verb (transitive)
to satisfy (one's thirst, desires, etc); slake
to put out (a fire, flame, etc); extinguish
to put down or quell; suppress: to quench a rebellion
to cool (hot metal) by plunging it into cold water
(physics) to reduce the degree of (luminescence or phosphorescence) in (excited molecules or a material) by adding a suitable substance
  1. to suppress (sparking) when the current is cut off in an inductive circuit
  2. to suppress (an oscillation or discharge) in a component or device
Derived Forms
quenchable, adjective
quencher, noun
quenchless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English ācwencan to extinguish; related to Old Frisian quinka to vanish
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 quench

Old English acwencan "to quench" (of fire, light), from Proto-Germanic *cwandjan, probably a causative form of root of Old English cwincan "to go out, be extinguished," Old Frisian kwinka. Related: Quenched; quenching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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