Definition of quick in English:

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Pronunciation: /kwɪk/


1Moving fast or doing something in a short time: in the qualifying session he was two seconds quicker than his teammate [with infinitive]: he was always quick to point out her faults
More example sentences
  • They are a fine team with very fast and quick forwards and they are pressing for the top place in the group and if they beat us they will do that.
  • With electric gates which can be operated from either end of the pit cows make a quick entry and a fast exit.
  • While being quick and fast, those involved in the relief and rescue work should maintain their temper, he noted.
fast, swift, rapid, speedy, high-speed, expeditious;
brisk, lively, sprightly, nimble, prompt;
lightning, meteoric, overnight, whirlwind, fast-track, whistle-stop, breakneck, smart
informal nippy, zippy
British informal cracking
literary fleet
rare tantivy, alacritous, volant
1.1Lasting or taking a short time: Brian gave her a quick look we went to the pub for a quick drink
More example sentences
  • Bails was tired but met for a quick drink after work.
  • We were supposed to be having ‘a quick drink’, but it ended up being dinner for about eight and the bar actually ran out of wine.
  • The set was two and a half hours of music with a twenty-minute interval for drinks and some quick reprogramming of the lights and video projectors.
hasty, hurried, cursory, perfunctory, superficial, desultory, incidental, summary, glancing;
brief, short, fleeting, passing, transient, transitory, short-lived, flying, lightning, momentary, temporary
1.2Happening with little or no delay; prompt: children like to see quick results from their efforts
More example sentences
  • However if we want a quick result on a short session they are ideal.
  • The result is quick response both around town and on the open road, plus levels of fuel efficiency and economy that rate at the top of the class.
  • Low-intensity warfare of this kind does not bring quick results and much of the work is low-key, repetitive and painstaking.
sudden, instantaneous, immediate, instant, abrupt, sharp, precipitate, breakneck, headlong
2Prompt to understand, think, or learn; intelligent: it was quick of him to spot the mistake
More example sentences
  • But in private, it was clear that this guy was very smart, very quick to learn.
  • With its quick intelligence, it has no trouble learning its name and how to use a litter box.
  • Joseph early in life learned that quick wit would get him through.
intelligent, bright, clever, gifted, able, brilliant, astute, quick-witted, sharp-witted, ready, quick off the mark;
observant, alert, sharp, wide awake, receptive, perceptive
informal brainy, smart, on the ball, on one's toes, quick on the uptake, genius
North American informal whip-smart
2.1(Of a person’s eye or ear) keenly perceptive; alert.
Example sentences
  • Her bearing has turned to reserve, her normally quick eyes dull and watery.
  • Making money in this segment will require careful management and a quick eye on micro-trends.
  • He signaled secretly to his gang, but the cold man's quick eye caught everything.
2.2(Of a person’s temper) easily roused.
Example sentences
  • Normally, he was quite calm and quiet, but he had a quick temper that subsided as easily as it came.
  • You can be rather selfish, though, and a partner needs to be able to deal with your quick temper and impulsive tantrums.
  • Now I realized that it was his cold anger that I feared, and not his quick temper.


At a fast rate; quickly: he’ll find some place where he can make money quicker [as exclamation]: Get out, quick!
More example sentences
  • Exxon and Shell say if we don't do something quick the 2004 convention sponsorship deal is off.
  • So get your ducks quick as they are flying out of the place.
  • How quick we have forgotten the sacrifice demanded of those whose homes and communities that stood in the way of the inner relief folly.


1 (the quick) The soft tender flesh below the growing part of a fingernail or toenail.
Example sentences
  • You'll enjoy the movie if your idea of a good time is sitting glued to the edge of your seat chewing your fingernails down to the quick.
  • This will prevent the quick from growing too long and prevent the nail from bleeding.
  • As she packed, I saw her hands and her once beautiful nails were bitten to the quick.
1.1The central or most sensitive part of someone or something.
Example sentences
  • It cuts to straight to the quick of this most sinister tale, using just two actors on a bare stage to tell of a man divided and torn between his good and evil nature.
  • Its implications cut to the quick of the British constitution.
  • It neutralises the whining about failing to address the issue because it cuts to the quick.
2 (as plural noun the quick) archaic Those who are living: the quick and the dead
More example sentences
  • They will die as you died, in the footsteps of the dead that were quick.
  • From the salvation of the dead we move to the healing of the quick.
  • This law renders willful killing of an unborn ‘quick’ child by any injury to the mother of the child to be manslaughter.
3 Cricket , informal A fast bowler.
Example sentences
  • All it took was a stare and a crook of the eyebrow from any one of the quartet of West Indian quicks in those days for the batsmen to know that a bowler was upset.
  • However, there is enough help for the seamers to persuade both teams to play three frontline quicks.
  • If Bridgetown's Kensington Oval was a fortress for the Caribbean quicks of the 1970s and 80s, Eden Park became the impenetrable battlefield of the lack-of-pace New Zealand attack in the World Cup.



be quick off the mark

see mark1.

cut someone to the quick

Cause someone deep distress by a hurtful remark or action: she was cut to the quick by his accusation
More example sentences
  • The mocking tone was slight, but it cut Maple to the quick.
  • But when she opened The Independent the other day, she was cut to the quick.
  • Gleason's flamboyancy would have cut Buk to the quick.

(as) quick as a flash

see flash1.

quick and dirty

informal, chiefly US Makeshift; done or produced hastily: a quick and dirty synopsis of their work
More example sentences
  • With regard to how these albums were made, Craig said that he is ‘a big believer in the quick and dirty.’
  • While mini-DV camcorders have nothing to fear from Canon's movie mode, it does provide a quick and dirty way to capture impromptu moments.
  • I give a quick and dirty translation below, which unfortunately doesn't preserve the rhyme, the meter, or much of the sensibility, but what can I do?

quick on the draw

see draw.

a quick one

informal A rapidly consumed alcoholic drink.
Example sentences
  • See if you can spot the two I wrote when I was a bit drunk, after the third consecutive ‘oh, just a quick one then’ early evening session in the village pub with the usual suspects.
  • They are also non-refundable, so don't be tempted to have a quick one for Dutch courage before you set off; all climbers are stringently breathalysed!
  • Better make it a quick one - the last train leaves at 6: 35 pm.

quick with child

archaic At a stage of pregnancy when movements of the fetus have been felt.
Example sentences
  • By the present Law, this offence is divided into two classes: the capital offence being where the woman shall be quick with child.
  • In the criminal context, women convicted of capital crimes were permitted to plead that they were quick with child, and to have this claim tested by a group of six women.
  • A woman is usually considered to be ‘quick‘with child around the fourth month of pregnancy.


Old English cwic, cwicu 'alive, animated, alert', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kwiek 'sprightly' and German keck 'saucy', from an Indo-European root shared by Latin vivus 'alive' and Greek bios, zōē 'life'.

  • The original meaning of quick in Old English was ‘living’ or ‘alive’, contrasting with something dead or inanimate. This early sense still survives in the expression the quick and the dead, meaning ‘the living and the dead’, which comes from the Apostles' Creed in the Book of Common Prayer (1662): ‘From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.’ Quicksand (Old English) is so called because it moves—and swallows things up—as if it were alive. The original ‘alive’ sense of quick also led to the use of the word to refer to the soft, tender flesh below the growing part of a fingernail or hoof. Nervous people might bite their nails right down ‘to the quick’. This area is well supplied with nerves and is very sensitive to touch or injury (and so seems more ‘alive’ than other parts of the skin). So to cut someone to the quick is to upset them very much by saying or doing something hurtful. It was a simple step in the word's history to go from ‘alive’ to senses such as ‘lively’ and ‘vigorous’ and, from the late 16th century, ‘fast’. Mercury was formerly known as quicksilver—the silver substance moves in such an unpredictable way that it seems to be alive.

Words that rhyme with quick

artic, brick, chick, click, crick, flick, hand-pick, hic, hick, kick, lick, mick, miskick, nick, pic, pick, rick, shtick, sic, sick, slick, snick, stick, thick, tic, tick, trick, Vic, wick

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: quick

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