American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Moving or capable of moving with great speed; fast. See Synonyms at fast1.
- adj. Coming, occurring, or accomplished quickly; instant: a swift retort.
- adj. Quick to act or react; prompt: swift to take steps.
- adv. Swiftly. Often used in combination: swift-running.
- n. A cylinder on a carding machine.
- n. A reel used to hold yarn as it is being wound off.
- n. Any of various small dark insect-eating birds of the family Apodidae, related to the hummingbirds and noted for their long strong wings and swift flight.
- n. Any of various small, fast-moving North American lizards of the genera Sceloporus and Uta.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Moving with great speed, celerity, velocity, or rapidity; fleet; rapid; speedy.
- Ready; prompt; quick.
- Of short continuance; swiftly or rapidly passing.
- n. The swifter part of a stream; the current.
- n. An adjustable machine upon which a skein of yarn, silk, or other thread is put, in order that it may be wound off. It consists of a cylinder of separate strips, arranged on the principle of the lazy-tongs, so that its diameter can be increased or decreased at pleasure; the strips that form the cylinder are supported from a central shaft which revolves in a socket.
- n. The main card-cylinder in a flax-carding machine.
- n. A bird of the family Cypselidæ: so called from its rapidity of flight. The common swift of Europe is Cypselus (or Micropus) apus, with many local names, as black swift, swallow, or martin, screech-martin, shrieker or shriek-owl, swing-devil, devil-bird, etc. The Alpine swift of Europe is Cypselus melba, white below, and resembling the rock-swift. There are several United States species, of which the best-known is the chimney-swift, Chætura pelagica, popularly called
chimney-swallow, though it is in no sense a swallow. Rock-swifts belong to the genus Panyptila, as P. saxatilis of western North America. Cloud-swifts constitute the genus Nephœcetes. Swifts of the genus Collocalia build the edible bird's-nests; they are small species, sometimes called salanganesand swiftlets. Palm-swifts are small species of the genus Tachornis, as T. phœnicobia of the West Indies. Spine-tailed swifts have the tail-feathers mucronate, as in the genus Chætura. See also tree-swift, and cuts under Chætura, Collocalia, Cypselus, and Panyptila.
- n. A breed of domestic pigeons, of which there are several color-varieties.
- n. The common newt or eft.
- n. One of several small lizards which run with great swiftness, as the common brown fence-lizard of the United States, Sceloporus undulatus. See cut under Sceloporus.
- n. A ghost-swift, ghost-moth, or goat-moth; one of the Epialidæ: so called from the rapid flight. The ghost-moth or -swift is Epialus humuli; the golden swift is E. hectus; the evening swift is E. sylvinus; the common swift is E. lupulina. All these are British species. See cut under
- n. A goat-moth, Epialus vellida.
- In a swift or rapid manner; swiftly.
- To reef (a sail).
- n. A tackle used in tightening standing rigging.
- adj. fast; quick; rapid.
- adj. Capable of moving at high speeds.
- n. obsolete The current of a stream.
- n. A small plain-colored bird (of the family Micropodidæ) that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight. Common European swift: Cypselus, ∨ Micropus, apus. The common American, or chimney, swift: Chætura pelagica. The Australian swift: Chætura caudacuta. The European Alpine swift: Cypselus melba. The common Indian swift: Cypselus affinis.
- n. A western fence lizard, swift, blue-belly, Sceloporus occidentalis -- (common western lizard; seen on logs or rocks)
- n. The ghost moth.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Moving a great distance in a short time; moving with celerity or velocity; fleet; rapid; quick; speedy; prompt.
- adj. Of short continuance; passing away quickly.
- adv. Obs. or Poetic Swiftly.
- n. rare The current of a stream.
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of small, long-winged, insectivorous birds of the family
Micropodidæ. In form and habits the swifts resemble swallows, but they are destitute of complex vocal muscles and are not singing birds, but belong to a widely different group allied to the humming birds.
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of several species of lizards, as the pine lizard.
- n. (Zoöl.) The ghost moth. See under Ghost.
- n. A reel, or turning instrument, for winding yarn, thread, etc.; -- used chiefly in the plural.
- n. The main card cylinder of a flax-carding machine.
- n. United States meat-packer who began the use of refrigerated railroad cars (1839-1903)
- n. an English satirist born in Ireland (1667-1745)
- adj. moving very fast
- n. a small bird that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight
- n. common western lizard; seen on logs or rocks
- 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. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Thoas rules  the land, o'er barbarians, [Thoas,] who guiding his foot swift as the pinion, has arrived at this epithet [of Thoas, i.e. _the swift_] on account of his fleetness of foot.”
“They believe that people, when they hear the term swift boat, know that this -- or believe that that is sort of a code for underhanded politics.”
“They believe that people when they hear the term swift boat, know that this -- or believe that that is sort of a code for underhanded politics.”
“Congressman John Murtha is blasting what he calls swift boat style attacks stemming from his fight with Steny Hoyer.”
“Congressman John Murtha today is blasting what he calls swift boat style attacks stemming from his fight with Steny Hoyer.”
“He is not r-rich, Max, and he is a little what you call swift, eh?”
“Suddenly they encountered what we call the swift kick.”
“Judge had three or four track-hounds, and four of which he called swift-hounds, the latter including one pure-bred greyhound bitch of wonderful speed and temper, a dun-colored yelping animal which was a cross between a greyhound and a fox-hound, and two others that were crosses between a greyhound and a wire-haired Scotch deer-hound.”
“Analysts upgraded their target price for the company's stock on what they characterized as a swift turnaround in performance at the 90-plus-year-old firm, which has about $108-billion U.S. in assets.”
“KINGSTON - THE UNITED STATES State Department commended Jamaica for what it described as the swift and safe handover of alleged drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke last Thursday, just hours after he waived his right to an extradition hearing.”
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