A soft qualm, regret, flowed down his backbone, increasing.
-- James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922
“Uh nuh nuh nuh,” Bosco told her, wagging a finger as if she'd spoken this rogue qualm aloud.
-- Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad, 2010
The etymology of qualm is uncertain. It may come from the Old English cwealm, which means "torment," "pain," and "injury," but scholars believe there is not enough evidence to assume a direct connection between these terms.