|1.||a. any of the large stiff feathers of the wing or tail of a bird|
|b. the long hollow central part of a bird's feather; calamus|
|2.||a bird's feather made into a pen for writing|
|3.||any of the stiff hollow spines of a porcupine or hedgehog|
|4.||a device, formerly usually made from a crow quill, for plucking a harpsichord string|
|5.||angling a length of feather barb stripped of barbules and used for the body of some artificial flies|
|6.||a small roll of bark, esp one of dried cinnamon|
|7.||(in weaving) a bobbin or spindle|
|8.||a fluted fold, as in a ruff|
|9.||a hollow shaft that rotates upon an inner spindle or concentrically about an internal shaft|
|10.||to wind (thread, yarn, etc) onto a spool or bobbin|
|11.||to make or press fluted folds in (a ruff)|
|[C15 (in the sense: hollow reed or pipe): of uncertain origin; compare Middle Low German quiele quill]|
hollow, horny barrel of a bird's feather, used as the principal writing instrument from the 6th century until the mid-19th century, when steel pen points were introduced. The strongest quills were obtained from living birds in their new growth period in the spring. Only the five outer wing feathers (follicles) were considered suitable for writing; the second and third were especially preferred. Quills from the left wing were favoured because the feathers curve outward and away from a right-handed writer.
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