From Middle English, from Old English swift (“swift, quick”), from Proto-Germanic *swiftaz (“swift, quick”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)weip-, *(s)weib- (“to twist, wind around”). Cognate with Icelandic svipta (“to pull quickly”), Old English swīfan (“to revolve, sweep, wend, intervene”). More at swivel.
swift (comparative swifter, superlative swiftest)
- fast; quick; rapid.
2011 November 12, “International friendly: England 1-0 Spain”, BBC Sport:
- Spain were provoked into a response and Villa almost provided a swift equaliser when he rounded Hart but found the angle too acute and could only hit the side-netting.
- Capable of moving at high speeds.
- Italian: rapido (it), veloce (it), pronto (it), agile (it), svelto (it), celere (it)
- Latvian: ātrs (lv), ašs, straujš, knašs, žigls
- Portuguese: rápido (pt), ligeiro (pt) m
- Russian: быстрый (ru) (bystryj), скорый (ru) (skoryj), стремительный (ru) (stremitelʹnyj)
- Scottish Gaelic: siùbhlach, grad
- Slovak: rýchly
- Spanish: rápido (es)
- Turkish: çabuk (tr)
- Volapük: spidik (vo), vifik (vo)
swift (plural swifts)
- (obsolete) The current of a stream.
- A small plain-colored bird of the family Apodidae that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight. Other common names for the birds of this family include swiftlet, needletail and spinetail.
- Some lizards of the genus Sceloporus.
- A moth of the family Hepialidae, swift moth, ghost moth.
2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7:
- Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
swift (comparative more swift, superlative most swift)
- (obsolete, poetic) Swiftly.