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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English quikenen, equivalent to quick +‎ -en. Cognate Danish kvikne (to quicken, revive), Swedish kvickna (to revive), Icelandic kvikna (to turn on, ignite).


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 William Chambers, chapter V, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      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

Etymology 2Edit

Apparently from quick, with uncertain final element.


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 […].
See alsoEdit


Old DutchEdit


From quic +‎ -en.



  1. to come to life


This verb needs an inflection-table template.


Further readingEdit

  • kwikken”, in Oudnederlands Woordenboek, 2012