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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce qualm (audio)

Dictionary definition of qualm

A feeling of uneasiness, doubt or hesitation, often about the morality or propriety of a particular action or decision.
"The qualm about his relationship had been growing for months."

Detailed meaning of qualm

It is a sudden feeling of doubt or misgiving. It can also be a feeling of doubt or uneasiness about one's ability to do something. A qualm can also be described as a sudden feeling of nausea or dizziness. It is often used to describe a feeling of uncertainty or discomfort that comes from within, such as having a qualm about a situation, or a qualm of conscience. It is often used in a negative sense, as in having qualms about doing something, or having qualms of conscience. In literature, it is used as a literary device to convey the inner turmoil of a character, or the uncertainty of a situation. The term can also be used as a noun, as in "I had a qualm about going to the party" or "He had a qualm about stealing the money".

Example sentences containing qualm

1. His qualm about the ethical implications of the decision was evident.
2. She felt a sudden qualm when asked to compromise her principles.
3. The decision weighed on him, causing a deep moral qualm.
4. Despite his qualm, he went along with the group's decision.
5. Her qualm about the choice stemmed from a strong sense of duty.
6. I had a qualm about sharing such personal information.

History and etymology of qualm

The noun 'qualm' has a fascinating etymology that traces its origins to Middle English and Old English. It can be linked to the Old English word 'cwealm,' which meant 'death' or 'murder.' This term eventually evolved into the Middle English word 'qualm,' signifying a sudden and intense feeling of illness or nausea. Over time, the meaning of 'qualm' expanded to include a feeling of uneasiness, doubt, or hesitation, often related to the morality or propriety of a particular action or decision. This evolution in meaning reflects the connection between the physical sensation of illness and the metaphorical discomfort one might experience when facing moral dilemmas or ethical quandaries.

Quiz: Find the meaning of qualm

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Further usage examples of qualm

1. There was a collective qualm among the team members.
2. His qualm about the project's environmental impact was valid.
3. She pushed past her initial qualm and took a calculated risk.
4. A qualm about the plan's legality led to further scrutiny.
5. He dismissed his qualm and embraced the opportunity.
6. His sudden qualm about the plan made everyone pause.
7. The chef had a qualm about using such a rare ingredient in the dish.
8. A slight qualm of unease washed over her as she entered the dark alley.
9. Her qualm about the project's feasibility was met with skepticism.
10. Despite her qualm, she continued to follow the mysterious trail.
11. A sudden qualm of doubt made him reconsider his decision.
12. The team leader had a qualm about the safety of their mission.
13. His qualm about the investment was shared by many in the group.
14. She couldn't shake the persistent qualm that something was off.
15. Despite his qualm, he proceeded with the risky experiment.
16. The qualm in his voice revealed his inner turmoil.
17. Her qualm about joining the expedition proved to be well-founded.
18. A qualm of guilt gnawed at him as he considered his actions.
19. The sudden qualm in the air signaled a change in the weather.
20. Despite his initial qualm, he embraced the challenge wholeheartedly.
21. Her qualm about the decision was evident in her furrowed brow.
22. A qualm of anxiety gripped her as she entered the interview room.
23. He had a qualm about confronting his friend about the issue.
24. Even though he had a qualm about the plan, he went along with it reluctantly.



unease, certainty, confidence, assurance


GRE 13 (Graduate Record Examination), Caution and Prudence, Sorrow and Strife, Doubt and Skepticism

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