quicken

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English quikenen (to become alive again after dying; to raise (someone) from the dead; to regain consciousness or strength; to give vitality, revive; to regain validity; to nourish; to spare (the life of someone or something); to ignite; to illuminate; of events: to happen more quickly; of clouds: to form) [and other forms],[1] from quiken (to come to life; to become alive again after dying; to give or regain vitality, revive; of a seed: to germinate, grow; to arouse (anger); to inspire; to reinforce, strengthen; to make (a substance) alchemically active; to nourish, sustain; to sharpen; to ignite; to illuminate; of news: to spread)[2] + -en (suffix forming the infinitive forms of verbs).[3] Quiken is derived from Old English cwician (to bring to life, vivify; to come to life, become living; to quicken), from cwic (alive, live, living; mentally agile; intelligent, keen) (ultimately from Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz (alive; lively; quick) and Proto-Indo-European *gʷeyh₃- (to live)) + -ian (suffix forming verbs from adjectives and nouns). The English word may be analysed as quick (moving with swiftness; occurring in a short time; (archaic) alive, living; (archaic) pregnant) +‎ -en (suffix attached to some adjectives forming transitive verbs meaning ‘to make [adjective]’).[4]

Verb[edit]

quicken (third-person singular simple present quickens, present participle quickening, simple past and past participle quickened)

  1. Senses relating to life or states of activity.
    1. (transitive)
      1. To put (someone or something) in a state of activity or vigour comparable to life; to excite, to rouse.
        Synonyms: motivate, stir up
        • 1908, E[dward] M[organ] Forster, “Cecil as a Humourist”, in A Room with a View, London: Edward Arnold, →OCLC, part II, page 170:
          [] Italy had quickened Cecil, not to tolerance, but to irritation. He saw that the local society was narrow, but, instead of saying, "Does this very much matter?" he rebelled, and tried to substitute for it the society he called broad.
      2. To inspire or stimulate (an action, a feeling, etc.).
        • 1667; first published 1692, Robert South, “A Sermon Preached at the Consecration of a Chapel”, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volume I, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC, pages 289–290:
          For ſurely, a rich Land, guardleſs and undefended, muſt needs have been a double Incitement, and ſuch an one, as might not only admit, but even invite the Enemy. It was like a fruitful Garden, or a fair Vineyard without an Hedge, that quickens the Appetite to enjoy ſo tempting, and withal ſo eaſy a Prize.
        • 1723, [Daniel Defoe], The History and Remarkable Life of the Truly Honourable Col. Jacque, Commonly Call’d Col. Jack, [], 2nd edition, London: [] J. Brotherton, [], →OCLC, page 106:
          This quicken'd my Reſolution to reſtore her Money, and not only ſo, but I reſolv'd I would give her ſomething over and above her Loſs; []
        • 1782, William Cowper, “Charity”, in Poems, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], →OCLC, page 206:
          Strange! how the frequent interjected daſh,
          Quickens a market and helps off the traſh,
          Th' important letters that include the reſt,
          Serve as a key to thoſe that are ſuppreſs'd,
          Conjecture gripes the victims in his paw,
          The world is charm'd, and Scrib. eſcapes the law.
          The author alludes to how the use of dashes to conceal the names of real persons in a satire (for example, “W⸻m C⸻r”) encourages the sale of the work, while allowing the satirist to avoid being sued for libel.
      3. To stimulate or assist the fermentation of (an alcoholic beverage, dough, etc.).
      4. (literary, also figuratively) To give life to (someone or something never alive or once dead); to animate, to resurrect, to revive. [from 14th c.]
      5. (archaic) To make or help (something) to burn.
      6. (obsolete)
        1. To make (a drug, liquor, etc.) more effective or stimulating.
        2. (passive voice) Of a pregnant woman: to be in the state of reaching the stage of pregnancy at which the movements of the foetus are first felt.
    2. (intransitive)
      1. To take on a state of activity or vigour comparable to life; to be excited or roused. [from 15th c.]
        • 1870, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “[Sonnets and Songs, towards a Work to be Called ‘The House of Life.’ Sonnets.] The House of Life. Sonnet I. Bridal Birth.”, in Poems, London: F[rederick] S[tartridge] Ellis, [], →OCLC, stanza 1, page 189:
          Born with her life, creature of poignant thirst
          And exquisite hunger, at her heart Love lay
          Quickening in darkness, till a voice that day
          Cried on him, and the bonds of birth were burst.
        • 1910, Saki [pseudonym; Hector Hugh Munro], “The Lost Sanjak”, in Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches, London: Methuen & Co. [], →OCLC, page 15:
          The Chaplain's interest in the story visibly quickened.
        • 1938 May, Evelyn Waugh, chapter 4, in Scoop: A Novel about Journalists, uniform edition, London: Chapman & Hall, published 1948 (1951 printing), →OCLC, book II (Stones £20), page 164:
          The milch-goat looked up from her supper of waste paper; her perennial optimism quickened within her, and swelled to a great and mature confidence; []
      2. To grow bright; to brighten.
      3. Of an alcoholic beverage, dough, etc.: to ferment.
      4. (also figuratively) Of a pregnant woman: to first feel the movements of the foetus, or reach the stage of pregnancy at which this takes place; of a foetus: to begin to move. [from 16th c.]
        • 1663 January 11 (date written; Gregorian calendar), Samuel Pepys, Mynors Bright, transcriber, “January 1st, 1662–1663”, in Henry B[enjamin] Wheatley, editor, The Diary of Samuel Pepys [], volume III, London: George Bell & Sons []; Cambridge: Deighton Bell & Co., published 1893, →OCLC, page 1:
          [] about a month ago she [Lady Castlemaine] quickened at my Lord Gerard's at dinner, and cried out that she was undone; and all the lords and men were fain to quit the room, and women called to help her.
        • 1695, Richard Blackmore, “Book II”, in Prince Arthur. An Heroick Poem. [], 2nd edition, London: [] Awnsham and John Churchil [], →OCLC, pages 35–36:
          Almighty Vigour ſtrove though all the Void,
          And ſuch prolifick Influence employ'd,
          That ancient, barren Night did pregnant grow,
          And quicken'd with the World in Embrio.
        • 2013 February 21, Hilary Mantel, “Royal Bodies”, in Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor, London Review of Books[1], volume 35, number 4, London: LRB Ltd., →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 27 December 2021:
          Royal pregnancies were not announced in those days; the news generally crept out, and public anticipation was aroused only when the child quickened.
      5. (literary, also figuratively)
        1. To give life; to make alive.
        2. To come back to life, to receive life. [from 14th c.]
      6. (rare) To inspire or stimulate.
  2. Senses relating to speed.
    1. (transitive)
      1. To make (something) quicker or faster; to hasten, speed up. [from 17th c.]
        Synonym: accelerate
        • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “X. Century. [Experiments in Consort, Touching the Secret Vertue of Sympathy, and Antipathy.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], paragraph 990, page 255, →OCLC:
          For you may ſooner by Imagination, quicken or ſlacke a Motion, than raiſe or ceaſe it; As it is eaſier to make a Dog goe ſlower, than to make him ſtand ſtill that he may not runne.
        • 1776 March 9, Adam Smith, “Of the Division of Labour”, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. [], volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], →OCLC, book I (Of the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers of Labour, []), page 12:
          Whoever has been much accuſtomed to viſit ſuch manufactures, muſt frequently have been ſhown very pretty machines, which were the inventions of common workmen in order to facilitate and quicken their own particular part of the work.
        • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “Afterglow”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC, page 168:
          Breezes blowing from beds of iris quickened her breath with their perfume; she saw the tufted lilacs sway in the wind, and the streamers of mauve-tinted wistaria swinging, all a-glisten with golden bees; she saw a crimson cardinal winging through the foliage, and amorous tanagers flashing like scarlet flames athwart the pines.
        • 2000 August 8, George R[aymond] R[ichard] Martin, “Arya”, in A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire; 3), 1st US edition, New York, N.Y.: Bantam Spectra, published November 2000, →ISBN, page 38:
          That day Arya [Stark] quickened their pace, keeping the horses to a trot as long as she dared, and sometimes spurring to a gallop when she spied a flat stretch of field before them.
      2. (construction, nautical (shipbuilding), archaic) To shorten the radius of (a curve); to make (a curve) sharper, or (an incline) steeper.
        to quicken the sheer, that is, to make its curve more pronounced
    2. (intransitive) To become quicker or faster. [from 17th c.]
      My heartbeat quickened when I heard him approach.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From quick(silver) (mercury) +‎ -en ((obsolete) suffix forming the infinitive forms of verbs).[5]

Verb[edit]

quicken (third-person singular simple present quickens, present participle quickening, simple past and past participle quickened)

  1. (transitive, rare) To apply quicksilver (mercury) to (something); to combine (something) with quicksilver; to quicksilver.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

A quicken or rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) in Scotland, United Kingdom.

From Middle English quiken ((chiefly in place names) probably the European rowan or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia), and possibly also the aspen (Populus tremula), juniper (genus Juniperus, specifically the common juniper (Juniperus communis)), or service tree (Sorbus domestica)), possibly from Old English cwician (to bring to life, vivify; to come to life, become living; to quicken) (see etymology 1).[6][7]

Noun[edit]

quicken (plural quickens)

  1. (chiefly Ireland, Northern England) In full quicken tree: the European rowan, rowan, or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia). [from 15th c.]
    Synonyms: quickbeam, quick tree
Translations[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Couch grass (Elymus repens) is known as quicken in certain parts of the United Kingdom.

From Middle English quiken (couch grass (Elymus repens); a leguminous plant, vetch) [and other forms],[8] a variant of quich, quik (couch grass (Elymus repens); a leguminous plant, vetch) [and other forms] (whence modern English quick, quitch (couch grass, quitchgrass); the -en element remains unexplained),[9] from Old English cwiċe (couch grass), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz (alive; lively; quick); see further at etymology 1.[10]

Noun[edit]

quicken (countable and uncountable, plural quickens)

  1. (chiefly Midlands (northern), Northern England, Northern Ireland, Scotland) Synonym of couch grass (“a species of grass, Elymus repens”); also (chiefly in the plural), the underground rhizomes of this, and sometimes other grasses.
    Synonyms: dog grass, quackgrass, quickens, quick grass, quitch, quitch grass, scutch grass, twitch, witchgrass
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ quikenen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ quiken, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ -en, suf.(3)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ quicken, v.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “quicken, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  5. ^ quicken, v.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2018.
  6. ^ quiken, n.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  7. ^ Compare “quicken, n.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021.
  8. ^ quiken, n.(2)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  9. ^ quich, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  10. ^ Compare “quicken, n.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021.

Further reading[edit]

German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

quicken

  1. inflection of quick:
    1. strong genitive masculine/neuter singular
    2. weak/mixed genitive/dative all-gender singular
    3. strong/weak/mixed accusative masculine singular
    4. strong dative plural
    5. weak/mixed all-case plural

Old Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From quic +‎ -en.

Verb[edit]

quicken

  1. to come to life

Inflection[edit]

This verb needs an inflection-table template.

Descendants[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • kwikken”, in Oudnederlands Woordenboek, 2012