verb (used with object)
- to suppress; put an end to; extinguish: The troops quelled the rebellion quickly.
- to vanquish; subdue.
- to quiet or allay (emotions, anxieties, etc.): The child’s mother quelled his fears of the thunder.
- to suppress or beat down (rebellion, disorder, etc); subdue
- to overcome or allayto quell pain; to quell grief
v.Old English cwellan “to kill, murder, execute,” from Proto-Germanic *kwaljanan (cf. Old English cwelan “to die,” cwalu “violent death;” Old Saxon quellian “to torture, kill;” Old Norse kvelja “to torment;” Middle Dutch quelen “to vex, tease, torment;” Old High German quellan “to suffer pain,” German quälen “to torment, torture”), from PIE *gwele- “to throw, reach,” with extended sense of “to pierce” (cf. Armenian kelem “I torture;” Old Church Slavonic zali “pain;” Lithuanian galas “end,” gela “agony,” gelati “to sting”). Milder sense of “suppress, extinguish” developed by c.1300. Related: Quelled; quelling.