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June 19, 2018

Word of the Day

  • quail
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KWAIL\
  • DEFINITION

verb

: 1 : to give way : falter

2 : to recoil in dread or terror : cower

  • EXAMPLE

"It wasn't so long ago that book publishers and bookstore owners were quailing about the coming of e-books, like movie theatre owners at the dawn of the television age." - Michael Hiltzik, The Gulf Times, 10 May 2017

"I've a Pooh in me, blundering about, trying to think large thoughts, making pronouncements I hope won't be challenged. And I'm sometimes a Piglet, quailing in front of imaginary dangers, or figuratively jumping up and down to squeak, 'I'm here! What about me?'" - Jim Atwell, The Cooperstown (New York) Crier, 15 June 2017

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Flinch, recoil, and wince are all synonyms of quail, but each word has a slightly different use. When you flinch, you fail to endure pain or to face something dangerous or frightening with resolution ("she faced her accusers without flinching"). Recoil implies a start or movement away from something through shock, fear, or disgust ("he recoiled at the suggestion of stealing"). Wince usually suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction to something ("she winced as the bright light suddenly hit her eyes"). Quail implies shrinking and cowering in fear ("he quailed before the apparition").

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