quicken

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From quick +‎ -en. Compare Swedish kvickna, Danish kvikne.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive, now literary) To give life to; to animate, make alive, revive. [from 14thc.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Luke XVII:
      Whosoever will goo about to save his lyfe, shall loose it: And whosoever shall loose his life, shall quycken it.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 3 scene 1
      The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead, / And makes my labours pleasures
    • Robert South (1634–1716)
      Like a fruitful garden without an hedge, that quickens the appetite to enjoy so tempting a prize.
  2. (intransitive, now literary) To come back to life, receive life. [from 14thc.]
  3. (intransitive) To take on a state of activity or vigour comparable to life; to be roused, excited. [from 15thc.]
    • 1910, ‘Saki’, "The Lost Sanjak", Reginald in Russia:
      The Chaplain's interest in the story visibly quickened.
  4. (intransitive) 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 16thc.]
    • 2013, Hilary Mantel, ‘Royal Bodies’, London Review of Books, 35.IV:
      Royal pregnancies were not announced in those days; the news generally crept out, and public anticipation was aroused only when the child quickened.
  5. (transitive) To make quicker; to hasten, speed up. [from 17thc.]
    • 2000, George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords, Bantam 2011, p.47:
      That day Arya 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.
  6. (intransitive) To become faster. [from 17thc.]
    My heartbeat quickened when I heard him approach.
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter V, The Younger Set:
      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.
  7. (shipbuilding) To shorten the radius of (a curve); to make (a curve) sharper.
    to quicken the sheer, that is, to make its curve more pronounced
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Apparently from quick, with uncertain final element.

Noun[edit]

quicken (plural quickens)

  1. (now chiefly Northern England) The European rowan, Sorbus aucuparia. [from 15th c.]
    • 1924, Ford Madox Ford, Some Do Not…, Penguin 2012 (Parade's End), p, 104:
      Miss Wannop moved off down the path: it was only suited for Indian file, and had on the left hand a ten-foot, untrimmed quicken hedge, the hawthorn blossoms just beginning to blacken […].
Synonyms[edit]