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.
- Fast; quick; rapid.
2011 November 12, “International friendly: England 1-0 Spain”, in 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.
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.
- 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”, in 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.
- (steam): swiftwater, swiftwater rescue
- (bird): common swift (Apus apus), treeswift
- (lizard): fence swift (Sceloporus undulatis), emerald swift (Sceloporus malachtiticus), sagebrush swift (Sceloporus graciosus)
- black martin
- black swift
- hawk swallow
- devil bird
- devil screecher
- screech martin
- shriek owl
- chimney swallow
- palm swift
- tree swift
- pine lizard
- (obsolete, poetic) Swiftly.