Definition of qualm in US English:



  • 1An uneasy feeling of doubt, worry, or fear, especially about one's own conduct; a misgiving.

    ‘military regimes generally have no qualms about controlling the press’
    • ‘I would have no qualms about people having to take an oath of allegiance on entering the country.’
    • ‘She was a vegetarian but seemed to have no qualms about the goats being killed for food for other people.’
    • ‘Its Sunday so I have no qualms about posting a slow boring post, if you're reading this today then you're probably bored too.’
    • ‘It was the gallery's inaugural show so I have no qualms about being biased.’
    • ‘The advertising companies, currently employed by the parties, have no qualms about emotional manipulation.’
    • ‘Japan wants cheap fish for sushi and Russians have no qualms about evading heavy export taxes.’
    • ‘Entrepreneurs have no qualms about destroying traditional ways of life if they can make a profit.’
    • ‘It is certainly true that some media organisations have no qualms about taking other media organisations to court.’
    • ‘The legal age of consent is a curious weapon in the hands of those who would otherwise have no qualms about child marriage.’
    • ‘And these days it is not just a partner - legal firms have no qualms about poaching entire teams.’
    • ‘But we expect loyalty and have no qualms about throwing someone out of the group if they don't play fair with us.’
    • ‘Avex officials say young people have no qualms about copying and distributing music.’
    • ‘He also added that he would have no qualms about seeking expenses for the trip.’
    • ‘On the other hand, I have no qualms about offering a lower price than my competitors do if my costs are lower as well.’
    • ‘Fans of this show should have no qualms about picking this one up because of the mostly solid transfers.’
    • ‘Politicians who have no qualms about lying believe that politics is the highest form of skulduggery.’
    • ‘The thing that shocked me more was that he seemed to have no qualms about it.’
    • ‘When it comes to salary, many business owners have no qualms about paying themselves a hefty amount.’
    • ‘If money were no longer an object I would have no qualms about leaving London and the south behind and moving up there permanently.’
    • ‘But when I see cats prowling on my property, I have no qualms about dousing them with water.’
    misgiving, doubt, reservation, second thought, worry, concern, anxiety
    scruple, pang of conscience, twinge of conscience, twinge of remorse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic A momentary faint or sick feeling.
      • ‘‘I had a momentary qualm when I was told that the plane was something called a Yak, but it delivered me in time to review the papers on Today’.’
      • ‘You have the usual momentary qualm in your belly and a bursting sensation in the ears, but not much sensation of movement till you get near the bottom, when the cage slows down so abruptly that you could swear it is going upwards again.’
      • ‘Something perhaps in his white set face gave her a momentary qualm, for at tea that afternoon there was toast on the table, a delicacy which she usually banned on the ground that it was bad for him’
      • ‘There are many people who do many right things under the influence of sickness, affliction, death in the family, public calamities or a sudden qualm of conscience.’
      • ‘He was suddenly surprised to experience a sudden qualm of deep and genuine regret.’


Early 16th century (in the sense ‘momentary sick feeling’): perhaps related to Old English cw(e)alm ‘pain’, of Germanic origin.