From Middle English quenchen, from Old English cwenċan, acwenċan, from Proto-Germanic *kwankijaną.


  • IPA(key): /kwɛnt͡ʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛntʃ


quench (third-person singular simple present quenches, present participle quenching, simple past and past participle quenched)

  1. (transitive) To satisfy, especially an actual or figurative thirst.
    The library quenched her thirst for knowledge.
    Synonyms: appease, slake
  2. (transitive) To extinguish or put out (as a fire or light).
    • 1798, Francisco de Quevedo, Fortune in Her Wits, and the Hour of All Men[1], volume 3, Edinburgh, translation of La fortuna con seso, y La hora de todos, pages 130–131:
      [] others ſaying, the fire would ceaſe as ſoon as it had vent, uncovered a great part of the houſe, breaking down the roofs, and destroying all that ſtood in their way. None of them went about to quench the fire, but all were employed in pulling down the houſe,  []
  3. (transitive, metallurgy) To cool rapidly by dipping into a bath of coolant, as a blacksmith quenching hot iron.
    The swordsmith quenched the sword in an oil bath so that it wouldn't shatter.
  4. (transitive, chemistry) To terminate or greatly diminish (a chemical reaction) by destroying or deforming the remaining reagents.
  5. (transitive, physics) To rapidly change the parameters of a physical system.
    • 2018, “Strong quenches in the one-dimensional Fermi-Hubbard model”, in Physical Review A[2], volume 98, DOI:10.1103/PhysRevA.98.033602, page 1:
      A suitable method to prepare a system out of equilibrium in order to study the ensuing dynamics is to quench the system, i.e., to change its parameters abruptly.
  6. (transitive, physics) To rapidly terminate the operation of a superconducting electromagnet by causing part or all of the magnet's windings to enter the normal, resistive state.
    If someone is pinned against the MRI magnet by a ferromagnetic object, you may need to quench the magnet in order to free them.



quench (plural quenches)

  1. (physics) The abnormal termination of operation of a superconducting magnet, occurring when part of the superconducting coil enters the normal (resistive) state.
  2. (physics) A rapid change of the parameters of a physical system.