Feeling nervous about accepting a new job is an example of a qualm.
Other Word Forms
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."