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quail at someone or something

to show fear at someone or something; to shrink from someone or something. Todd quailed at the thought of what he had to do. The students quailed at the teacher who had been so hard on them in the past.
See also: quail

quail before someone or something

to cower before or at the threat of someone or something. The students quailed before the angry principal. They quailed before the thought of punishment.
See also: before, quail


n. any girl or woman, especially considered sexually. (Crude.) Look at that cute little quail over there.
References in classic literature ?
The Phaeacians quailed beneath the rushing of its flight as it sped gracefully from his hand, and flew beyond any mark that had been made yet.
However that might be, poor Martha had a woman's heart, and a tender one, and it quailed within her, as she looked round at those strange old men, and from them to the calm features of Adam Colburn.
Alexandrus quailed as he saw Menelaus come forward, and shrank in fear of his life under cover of his men.
Her heart quailed when she thought of what would follow--of what would be the end, when this was only the beginning.
He had maintained a brave front, but inwardly he quailed.
But as Terkoz pushed her roughly aside to meet Tarzan's charge, and she saw the great proportions of the ape and the mighty muscles and the fierce fangs, her heart quailed.
The Prince eyed Bert steadfastly, and Bert quailed under his eye.
The painted lady who always came in late, tripping into the room with a prepared smile as though she came out upon a stage, might well have quailed before Mrs.