Meaning and Origin of: Quail

Family name origins & meanings

  • Irish and Scottish : Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Phóil (see McFall).
  • Irish : variant of Quill 1.
  • English : from Middle English quaille ‘quail’, a nickname for a timorous, lecherous, or fat person, all qualities that were ascribed to the bird.
  • In one family this is an Americanized form of the Ashkenazic Jewish ornamental surname Kvalvaser, meaning ‘spring water’ in Yiddish.