Qualm definition

kwäm, kwôm
Frequency:
A sudden disturbing feeling.
noun
6
1
A sudden feeling of uneasiness or doubt; misgiving.
noun
4
1
An uneasy feeling about the propriety or rightness of a course of action.
noun
3
0
A twinge of conscience; scruple.
noun
3
2
A sudden, brief feeling of sickness, faintness, or nausea.
noun
2
1
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Qualm is defined as a feeling of doubt or sickness.

Feeling nervous about accepting a new job is an example of a qualm.

noun
0
0
(now chiefly UK dialectal) Mortality; plague; pestilence.
noun
0
0
(now chiefly UK dialectal) A calamity or disaster.
noun
0
0
A feeling of apprehension, doubt, fear etc. [from 16th c.]

noun
0
0
A sudden sickly feeling; queasiness. [from 16th c.]
noun
0
0
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A prick of the conscience; a moral scruple, a pang of guilt. (Now chiefly in negative constructions.) [from 17th c.]
noun
0
0
A sudden feeling of sickness, faintness, or nausea.
noun
1
2

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
qualm
Plural:
qualms

Origin of qualm

  • Origin unknown

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English qualm, cwalm (“death, sickness, plague"), from Old English cwealm (West Saxon: "death, disaster, plague"), Å«tcualm (Anglian: "utter destruction"), from Proto-Germanic *kwalmaz (“killing, death, destruction"), from Proto-Indo-European *gÊ·el- (“to stick, pierce; pain, injury, death"). Related to cwelan (“to die,") cwellan (“to kill"). The other suggested etymology, less satisfying, is from Dutch kwalm "steam, vapor, mist," which also may be ultimately from the same Germanic root as quell. Sense softened to "feeling of faintness" 1530; meaning "uneasiness, doubt" is from 1553; that of "scruple of conscience" is 1649. An indirect connection between the Old English and modern senses is plausible, via the notion of "fit of sickness."

    From Wiktionary