Main definitions of quail in English

: quail1quail2

quail1

noun

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The English setter is a sporting breed that finds and indicates the location of upland game birds - quail, pheasant and grouse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's also the game season (partridge, wild duck, pheasant, quail and hare) and the season for frogs and snails.’
    • ‘A spokesman for Waitrose said its only imports from France were of quail and guinea fowl and these had been suspended.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smaller, richer-tasting meats such as pheasant, duck, partridge, pigeon, even diminutive quail are increasingly finding their way onto my Christmas table.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The area also boasts a new aviary with a variety of colourful ‘chirpers’ including budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds and quails.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have had reports of buzzard and nocturnal quail.’
    • ‘Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the quail and brown all over (one to two minutes).’
    • ‘Restrictions and slaughter provisions apply to domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quail, ratites, pigeons, pheasants and partridges reared or kept in captivity.’
    • ‘The game - strange list - included pheasant, swan, heron, crane, curlew, partridge, plover, rails and quails, but also three different dishes of venison.’
    • ‘Birds such as grouse, crows, quail, partridge, nightjars, cuckoos, shrikes, larks, pipits, merlins, harriers, kestrels and buzzards would all have been seen.’
    • ‘The principal game birds of Britain are grouse, partridge, pheasant, plus woodcock, pigeon, quail, and various wild duck and marsh fowl.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Season and place the quail in a separate, large saucepan over medium heat.’
    • ‘He also mentioned that when he was a boy the land was filled with rabbits and quail and song birds.’
    • ‘Callipepla californica are New World quail, birds that have chunky, rounded bodies and crests or head plumes.’
    • ‘The center hopes that other ground-nesting species, such as quail, pheasant and eastern meadowlark, will follow.’
    • ‘But then a new male and female California quail strolled into the yard with a recently hatched brood of five chicks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Male quail are often aggressive before and during the breeding season.’
    • ‘Changing habitats that increase edge and maintain early successional habitat benefit the quail.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most game birds are also galliforms, including grouse, partridges, pheasants, quails, ptarmigans, and wild turkeys.’
    • ‘Last year, when I was still walking almost daily through my neighborhood, there were quail everywhere, as well as mourning doves.’
    • ‘Mountain Quail are the most elusive quail in Washington.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A California quail and a Bewick's wren are among four bird subspecies found only on Santa Catalina.’
    • ‘But it has done the trick and now even the tiniest of baby quail are quite safe inside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the only quail in Washington that is uniformly streaked in brown.’
    • ‘Raptors are known to prey on game species, such as quails, partridges, pheasants and rabbits.’
    • ‘His research included classic works on quail, bushtits, Mexican and South American thrushes, New World jays, and others.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

quail

/kweɪl//kwāl/

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.’
    • ‘‘Who are you, son?’ she asked Momma, whose heart quailed for a moment at this unexpected encounter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the 1930s, when they anticipated that cost, many politicians quailed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the supreme test and England have quailed at the very thought of it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I knew that the arête would have to be surmounted and I quailed in fear.’
    • ‘So I stayed there, and the cat joined me, and we quailed and quaked and waited for it to stop.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As Irving Howe wrote, ‘before the charge of ‘nationalism,’ courageous men quailed, as their grandfathers might have quailed before charges of heresy’.’
    • ‘Pandora was our boat and I quailed when I saw her name.’
    • ‘I remember quailing in horror at the American charts in those days.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I quailed at the thought of a long train journey with a small baby.’
    • ‘She quailed when she heard his voice near her ear.’
    • ‘I admit that I quailed ever so slightly at the prospect of actually going to the top.’
    • ‘Representatives of museums - notably the Victoria and Albert - visibly quailed under the audience's onslaught.’
    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

/kwāl//kweɪl/