Definition of quell in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force.

    ‘extra police were called to quell the disturbance’
    • ‘He spent five years quelling rebellions and establishing Norman authority, building many castles and stocking them with men brought from Normandy.’
    • ‘Police and soldiers were sent to Yelwa to quell the violence and the town has been reported calm since Friday.’
    • ‘The military government pledged to quell rebellion and unify the country by force.’
    • ‘But, just as Edward Longshanks failed to quell the rebellion that led to Scottish independence, William Wallace's legacy lives on.’
    • ‘Members of the 800th Military Police Brigade had to use lethal force several times to quell prisoner uprisings, the report says.’
    • ‘Human-rights groups slam the government for continuing to use these emergency powers, which were originally promulgated to quell ethnic unrest and deal with terrorism many years ago.’
    • ‘Military experts said last night that regular soldiers - let alone elite assault troops - had never before been used to quell disorder in the United States.’
    • ‘Initially as surprised as everyone else, the Mexican army soon recovered and violently quelled the rebellion.’
    • ‘He disposed of his rival claimants, and quelled various rebellions that the succession crisis had spawned.’
    • ‘Conductors were popular, and deservedly so, because they assisted elderly people, sorted out fares and quelled bad behaviour.’
    • ‘Existing ‘loyalist’ forces were unable to quell the rebellion and reinforcements had to be called from China.’
    • ‘The new party general secretary will no doubt be expected to play a role in quelling the ongoing unrest among hill tribes.’
    • ‘The idea of quelling the legitimate resistance of an occupied people by the application of massive, gratuitous violence and murder, is not peculiar to Japan.’
    • ‘These are all places where Western armies had to quell disorder.’
    • ‘He conquered the Sudan and quelled a rebellion in Greece.’
    • ‘The key early win was getting an interim city council elected on May 5, only two weeks after forces arrived to begin quelling widespread disorder.’
    • ‘The incident, in which a chalet-style caravan was attacked at Rectory Lane last Tuesday night, has led senior officers to reassure residents they have been working to quell the disorder.’
    • ‘His murder is the latest in a series of high-profile killings of left activists which human rights advocates say is part of a military-backed campaign aimed at silencing government critics and quelling dissent.’
    • ‘In his place they sent Colonel Lachlan Macquarie who arrived in 1810 with a regiment to quell the rebellion.’
    • ‘To unite the country and strengthen the stability of the border, Emperor Qian Long assembled large numbers of troops in Danba to quell the rebellion.’
    • ‘Policemen and commandos are deployed to quell riots and to maintain law and order.’
    put an end to, stamp out, put a stop to, end, finish, get rid of, crush, put down, check, crack down on, curb, nip in the bud, thwart, frustrate, squash, quash, subdue, suppress, repress, quench, extinguish, stifle, abolish, terminate, beat, overcome, defeat, rout, destroy, demolish, annihilate, wipe out, extirpate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Subdue or silence someone.
      ‘Connor quelled him with a look’
      • ‘After quelling the crowd somewhat, he and Mr. Timberlake gave each other a high-five.’
      • ‘We must remember that the prime motive for Housmann's boulevards and circuses was to ensure that a strategically placed cannon could fire down many streets, quelling the citizens who were periodically disposed to revolution.’
      • ‘Sources said police used hundreds of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and opened fire to quell the strikers, leaving seven people dead.’
      • ‘She would not be calmed, she would not be quelled, she would not be made to silence and rest.’
      • ‘He quelled James McFadden with his hardy yet wholesome intercessions.’
      • ‘In 1 Henry IV he is commended by Prince Harry after Shrewsbury, and sent with Westmorland to quell the northern rebels.’
      • ‘Those in yellow and white candy-stripes threatened to be sweet meat for the Leith club as they found themselves being dragged every which way as they sought to quell opponents brimming with attacking invention.’
      • ‘He quelled her with a stern glance before turning back to the judges.’
      • ‘Police forced people on the 500 block to the sidewalks several times in attempt to shrink and quell the crowd.’
      • ‘So the wait prolongs before Harry Potter and his friends at Hogwarts School of Magic finally quell Lord Voldemort, the evil and powerful Wizard.’
      • ‘Before the match there was trouble in a little square outside the ground as riot police with batons waded in to quell troublemakers attached to both clubs.’
      • ‘Beatrice places a hand on his chest, and it instantly and completely quells him.’
      • ‘Whenever you beheld me, your eyes imprinted all their graces there, mastered and quelled me; and my eyes earned their share: to worship all in you that sight laid bare.’
      • ‘The ambitious German, then 25, went on to finish as world champion that year; then again the next season, as inadequate opponents were quelled ruthlessly, one after the other.’
      • ‘That proved to be enough to quell the upstarts, and Teague appeared to be settling a personal score when he raced over three more times in the second half.’
      • ‘Two of the top generals commanding the operation were replaced, although Moscow insisted they had been elevated to other duties and not punished for failing to quell the rebels.’
      • ‘Verbena quelled him in mid-grumble with a patient, long-suffering gaze, like a mother enduring a weary child's temper tantrum.’
      • ‘For a while it seemed that the government had quelled radical groups, but this has only lulled us into a sense of false security.’
      • ‘He said his office would continue in its efforts to save the peace pact, despite the looming operation to quell the rebels.’
    2. 1.2 Suppress (a feeling, especially an unpleasant one)
      ‘he spoke up again to quell any panic among the assembled youngsters’
      • ‘We use it to comfort ourselves, quell anxiety and fear, and numb those feelings of self-doubt.’
      • ‘It tempers temper, quells hatred and dissolves fear, bringing a deeper sense of dominion and happiness to our lives.’
      • ‘Many householders fear their insurance premiums could rise but the Association of British Insurers is trying to quell homeowners' worries.’
      • ‘It produces a feeling of fullness and quells the desire to eat.’
      • ‘Private security patrols could be deployed in the borough for the first time to quell fears of crime among residents near Wandsworth Common.’
      • ‘The more the sisters seem to confess to one another, the less they seem to say, and the way that so many of the longings in the film are quieted without being fully quelled is part of its haunting and unnerving beauty.’
      • ‘Throughout the poem, the mother constantly attempts to quell and quiet Jim's desire, reading that desire as potentially self-destructive.’
      • ‘I tried to stifle the thoughts, tried to quell the overwhelming feeling of being trapped in circumstances.’
      • ‘Though this combo is just as passionate as their fellow Sagittarians, the Virgo Moon affects the inner nature enough to quell some of the more rash aspects of the Sagittarius personality.’
      • ‘You'll be amazed at how much difference sunlight makes to quelling those anxious feelings.’
      • ‘Donnan felt his anger rise and immediately quelled it.’
      • ‘It seems that nothing in this world is able to quell David Hempleman-Adams' thirst for adventure and this year has been no exception.’
      • ‘There are no words, no internal dialogue that can quell my feeling of betrayal.’
      • ‘Breathing in the uncomfortable silence I tried to quell the unease, without much success I might add.’
      • ‘I get the impression that some in the broadcast media are more interested in spreading gloom to garner ratings than quelling people's uneasiness, or giving solid facts.’
      • ‘It's totally possible for you to hook up with someone who inspires no desire and no passion, but quells your fear of being alone.’
      • ‘Carrots clear out excess cholesterol from the system, while ginger is wonderful at calming the digestive tract, helping to quell the feelings of nausea that some people experience when detoxing.’
      • ‘An only child, with parents who wanted what was best for her, she couldn't quell the feeling she was different from her peers.’
      • ‘Partly, it may be a desire to quell emotions in front of strangers.’
      • ‘The cooler temperatures of the last week should have quelled the amorous residents' ardour and after their recent exertions they should have quite an appetite.’
      calm, soothe, pacify, settle, quieten, quiet, put at rest, lull, silence, put behind one, rise above, allay, appease, stay, assuage, abate, deaden, dull, tranquillize, mitigate, moderate, palliate
      View synonyms


Old English cwellan ‘kill’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kwellen and German quälen.