Quill Quill, n. [Perhaps fr. F. quille ninepin (see {Kayless}); but cf. also G. kiel a quill. MHG. kil, and Ir. cuille a quill.] 1. One of the large feathers of a bird's wing, or one of the rectrices of the tail; also, the stock of such a feather. [1913 Webster]

2. A pen for writing made by sharpening and splitting the point or nib of the stock of a feather; as, history is the proper subject of his quill. --Sir H. Wotton. [1913 Webster]

3. (Zo["o]l.) (a) A spine of the hedgehog or porcupine. (b) The pen of a squid. See {Pen}. [1913 Webster]

4. (Mus.) (a) The plectrum with which musicians strike the strings of certain instruments. (b) The tube of a musical instrument. [1913 Webster]

He touched the tender stops of various quills. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

5. Something having the form of a quill; as: (a) The fold or plain of a ruff. (b) (Weaving) A spindle, or spool, as of reed or wood, upon which the thread for the woof is wound in a shuttle. (c) (Mach.) A hollow spindle. [1913 Webster]

6. (Pharm.) A roll of dried bark; as, a quill of cinnamon or of cinchona. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

{Quill bit}, a bit for boring resembling the half of a reed split lengthways and having its end sharpened like a gouge.

{Quill driver}, one who works with a pen; a writer; a clerk. [Jocose]

{Quill nib}, a small quill pen made to be used with a holder. --Simmonds. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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  • quill — ► NOUN 1) a main wing or tail feather of a bird. 2) the hollow shaft of a feather, especially the lower part that lacks barbs. 3) a pen made from a quill. 4) a hollow sharp spine of a porcupine, hedgehog, etc. ORIGIN probably from Low German… …   English terms dictionary

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  • quill — [ kwıl ] noun count 1. ) a long thin sharp object like a stick that grows from the body of PORCUPINES and some other animals 2. ) a large feather from a bird 3. ) an old fashioned pen made from a bird s feather …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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