Main definitions of quail in English

: quail1quail2

quail1

noun

  • 1A small short-tailed Old World game bird resembling a tiny partridge, typically having brown camouflaged plumage.

    • ‘It's also the game season (partridge, wild duck, pheasant, quail and hare) and the season for frogs and snails.’
    • ‘Restrictions and slaughter provisions apply to domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quail, ratites, pigeons, pheasants and partridges reared or kept in captivity.’
    • ‘You might be tempted by squid cooked in its own ink, braised peppers in tomato sauce, tuna or swordfish cooked in red wine, or partridge or quail in a sherry-vinegar sauce.’
    • ‘Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the quail and brown all over (one to two minutes).’
    • ‘The principal game birds of Britain are grouse, partridge, pheasant, plus woodcock, pigeon, quail, and various wild duck and marsh fowl.’
    • ‘The game - strange list - included pheasant, swan, heron, crane, curlew, partridge, plover, rails and quails, but also three different dishes of venison.’
    • ‘For the mushroom fancier the game is now on, with every shape and variety on local stalls, wild boar and young kid appear on the menu and the valleys resound to the huntsman's gun and partridge and quail hang from cottage doorways.’
    • ‘The area also boasts a new aviary with a variety of colourful ‘chirpers’ including budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds and quails.’
    • ‘During the past seven years, Poppy and husband Pete, who fund the sanctuary themselves, have taken scores of animals and birds under their wing, including geese, dogs, a cow, partridge, pheasant and quail.’
    • ‘I have had reports of buzzard and nocturnal quail.’
    • ‘He then decided it would be nice to have other animals there; within several years he'd added a goat, burros, pigeons, chickens, geese, doves, quail, partridges, and more.’
    • ‘Leeds University scientists have calculated the birds, including tiny quail weighing mere grammes, are five times fitter than our Olympic athletes.’
    • ‘Birds such as grouse, crows, quail, partridge, nightjars, cuckoos, shrikes, larks, pipits, merlins, harriers, kestrels and buzzards would all have been seen.’
    • ‘The English setter is a sporting breed that finds and indicates the location of upland game birds - quail, pheasant and grouse.’
    • ‘International cuisine uses the eggs of other birds, including ducks, geese, sparrows, quails and ostriches, but it is the hen that has been universally domesticated.’
    • ‘This is an economy in which it's easier to carve a new dishwasher out of rock than to pay for one with 18 vultures, three choughs and a quail.’
    • ‘Smaller, richer-tasting meats such as pheasant, duck, partridge, pigeon, even diminutive quail are increasingly finding their way onto my Christmas table.’
    • ‘Up to nine birds, including three budgies, a dove, a finch, two hens and a quail died at the pets' corner in Longford Park, Stretford.’
    • ‘John Piercy, of St Peter's Street, Norton, realised 11 finches and four quails had been taken from their cage when he saw the aviary door had been forced open.’
    • ‘A spokesman for Waitrose said its only imports from France were of quail and guinea fowl and these had been suspended.’
  • 2A small or medium-sized New World game bird, the male of which has distinctive facial markings.

    • ‘Cattle grazed the pastures where prairie hens, quail and coyote roamed.’
    • ‘But then a new male and female California quail strolled into the yard with a recently hatched brood of five chicks.’
    • ‘The use of quail as donor and chick as host provides a means for discriminating donor cells in the host environment due the unique properties of the quail nucleolus.’
    • ‘Changing habitats that increase edge and maintain early successional habitat benefit the quail.’
    • ‘Most game birds are also galliforms, including grouse, partridges, pheasants, quails, ptarmigans, and wild turkeys.’
    • ‘Callipepla californica are New World quail, birds that have chunky, rounded bodies and crests or head plumes.’
    • ‘Last year, when I was still walking almost daily through my neighborhood, there were quail everywhere, as well as mourning doves.’
    • ‘That also seems to be the case with some of the other New World quail and appears to reflect a bit of Old World bias of the authors.’
    • ‘His research included classic works on quail, bushtits, Mexican and South American thrushes, New World jays, and others.’
    • ‘Raptors are known to prey on game species, such as quails, partridges, pheasants and rabbits.’
    • ‘But it has done the trick and now even the tiniest of baby quail are quite safe inside.’
    • ‘A California quail and a Bewick's wren are among four bird subspecies found only on Santa Catalina.’
    • ‘The legislation, pushed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is aimed at generating funding for programs targeting game birds such as mourning doves and quail.’
    • ‘The center hopes that other ground-nesting species, such as quail, pheasant and eastern meadowlark, will follow.’
    • ‘The broader scope of the new stamps will allow the agency to generate money for programs aimed at species such as mourning doves and quail, two hugely important game birds that previous stamps didn't cover.’
    • ‘He also mentioned that when he was a boy the land was filled with rabbits and quail and song birds.’
    • ‘Season and place the quail in a separate, large saucepan over medium heat.’
    • ‘Male quail are often aggressive before and during the breeding season.’
    • ‘This is the only quail in Washington that is uniformly streaked in brown.’
    • ‘Mountain Quail are the most elusive quail in Washington.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French quaille, from medieval Latin coacula (probably imitative of its call).

Pronunciation

quail

/kweɪl/

Main definitions of quail in English

: quail1quail2

quail2

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Feel or show fear or apprehension.

    ‘she quailed at his heartless words’
    • ‘I quailed at the prospect, but soon saw in it a stimulating, even noble challenge.’
    • ‘This didn't mean children quailing under some terrifying father-figure, but a family which functioned as a political unit, as distinct from the English ‘nuclear’ family, which was smaller and more intimate.’
    • ‘I knew that the arête would have to be surmounted and I quailed in fear.’
    • ‘This is the supreme test and England have quailed at the very thought of it.’
    • ‘So I stayed there, and the cat joined me, and we quailed and quaked and waited for it to stop.’
    • ‘I remember quailing in horror at the American charts in those days.’
    • ‘Initially, I quailed at the thought, but with the encouragement of my friends and the realisation that this would finally expose my genius outside of the blogosphere, I capitulated.’
    • ‘Dio lived through turbulent times: he and his fellow senators quailed before tyrannical emperors and lamented the rise of men they regarded as upstarts, and in Pannonia he grappled with the problem of military indiscipline.’
    • ‘‘Who are you, son?’ she asked Momma, whose heart quailed for a moment at this unexpected encounter.’
    • ‘She quailed when she heard his voice near her ear.’
    • ‘At one stage, I quailed at the thought of trying to put it back together, but by the time I arrived home, I was viewing the disaster as a challenge and wondering what interesting things I could invent to put in the place of what had been lost.’
    • ‘Representatives of museums - notably the Victoria and Albert - visibly quailed under the audience's onslaught.’
    • ‘As Irving Howe wrote, ‘before the charge of ‘nationalism,’ courageous men quailed, as their grandfathers might have quailed before charges of heresy’.’
    • ‘His little son had gone through that chaotic, uncontrollable situation all on his own, never once quailing under the immense pressure it imposed on a five-year-old.’
    • ‘I quailed at the thought of a long train journey with a small baby.’
    • ‘I admit that I quailed ever so slightly at the prospect of actually going to the top.’
    • ‘So great is the weight of expectation and reputation they bring before them, lesser bands have quailed at the prospect of appearing alongside the mighty Travis.’
    • ‘Though his tail grew back, he spent the rest of his days cringing in a corner of the coop, quailing at any sudden movement, and completely immune to the attractions of his feathered harem.’
    • ‘Pandora was our boat and I quailed when I saw her name.’
    • ‘In the 1930s, when they anticipated that cost, many politicians quailed.’
    cower, cringe, waver, falter, get cold feet
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘waste away, come to nothing’): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

quail

/kweɪl/