Part of speech:
(Like “sleep,” “skydive,” and “succeed,” all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t “sleep a bed,” “skydive a plane,” or “succeed a plan”.
Likewise, someone quails.)
When you literally quail, you are so afraid that your body is pulling backward or shrinking down.
When you figuratively quail, your bravery is shrinking or disappearing.
Either way, quailing means you're showing your fear, like a quail (a little bird that gets hunted.)
How to use it:
Talk about somebody quailing in a situation or quailing at something, as in "She quails watching horror movies" and "He quails at the sound of his alarm clock." You could quail before something or quail in the face of something ("Heidi quails before snakes" and "I positively quail in the face of spiders.") It's usually a person who quails, but also, your heart can quail, your courage might quail, your confidence could quail, your voice will quail, and so on. Something can make you quail or make your heart quail, or you can do something without quailing: "They make others quail, but Ted tackles essay tests without quailing."
I thought I was ready for the high dive, but my spirit quailed when I peered down at the great distance to the pool.
Chad will fearlessly camp among snakes and scorpions, and he will easily defend a complex dissertation in a roomful of critics, but the sight of our wobbly-legged baby girl pulling herself up to stand makes him quail.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "quail" means when you can explain it without saying "shrink" or "cower."
Think of something that scares you so much that it makes you shiver, and fill in the blank: "The very thought of _____ makes me quail.”
Example: “The very thought of a car crashing into a body of water, the passengers unable to open the doors or windows, makes me quail.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “Merely Furnish Me with a Rationale” is really “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!nk featuring Nate Ruess.
Try this one today: “Maintain Your Present Grip on Existing Circumstances, We’re Progressing Toward our Domicile”
A Point Well Made:
Peter Keefe: “Using clichés is like dressing out of the dirty-laundry bag—someone else’s dirty-laundry bag.”
1. The opposite of QUAIL is
2. Anyone might quail in the face of sudden unemployment, but _____.
A. blaming others in that way doesn't help the situation.
B. most of them won't actually engage in such violence.
C. some folks see it as an opportunity to follow their dreams instead.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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