- moving or capable of moving with great speed or velocity; fleet; rapid: a swift ship.
- coming, happening, or performed quickly or without delay: a swift decision.
- quick or prompt to act or respond: swift to jump to conclusions.
- Slang. quick to perceive or understand; smart; clever: You can't cheat him, he's too swift.
- any of numerous long-winged, swallowlike birds of the family Apodidae, related to the hummingbirds and noted for their rapid flight.
- tree swift.
- spiny lizard.
- Also called swift moth, ghost moth. any of several brown or gray moths, the males of which are usually white, of the family Hepialidae, noted for rapid flight.
- an adjustable device upon which a hank of yarn is placed in order to wind off skeins or balls.
- the main cylinder on a machine for carding flax.
Origin of swift
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- Gustavus Franklin,1839–1903, U.S. meat packer.
- JonathanIsaac Bickerstaff, 1667–1745, English satirist and clergyman, born in Ireland.
- Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication: an international consortium that routes instructions concerning transfer of funds between financial institutions.
Examples from the Web for swift
They know they will face either a swift backlash or deafening silence.Phylicia Rashad and the Cult of Cosby Truthers
January 8, 2015
The Internet cool kids are, of course, rallying against Swift en masse.Death of the Author by Viral Infection: In Defense of Taylor Swift, Digital Doomsayer
December 3, 2014
So the family threw her a 100th birthday party, then she entered her swift decline.The Nurse Coaching People Through Death by Starvation
November 17, 2014
This would seem reasonable, since in that direction lay the only territory open enough for swift attack by armor.Blood in the Sand: When James Jones Wrote a Grunt’s View of D-Day
November 15, 2014
But to Swift, well-versed in Hollywood dating, this is inconsequential.Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Tay-Tay Scorned
November 10, 2014
One swift glance had shown him there was no way of instant retreat.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Then there was a current of curses, a swift hissing of invective.Way of the Lawless
By the way, what inducements could a swift writer as he have to learn short-hand!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
This feeling was intensified by the belief that Swift, as a clergyman, was insincere.De Libris: Prose and Verse
Again, Aggie studied him with a swift glance of interrogation.Within the Law
- moving or able to move quickly; fast
- occurring or performed quickly or suddenly; instanta swift response
- (postpositive foll by to) prompt to act or respondswift to take revenge
- swiftly or quickly
- (in combination)swift-moving
- any bird of the families Apodidae and Hemiprocnidae, such as Apus apus (common swift) of the Old World: order Apodiformes. They have long narrow wings and spend most of the time on the wing
- (sometimes capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon originating in Egypt and Syria and having an appearance somewhat similar to a swift
- short for swift moth
- any of certain North American lizards of the genera Sceloporus and Uta that can run very rapidly: family Iguanidae (iguanas)
- the main cylinder in a carding machine
- an expanding circular frame used to hold skeins of silk, wool, etc
- Graham Colin. born 1949, English writer: his novels include Waterland (1983), Last Orders (1996), which won the Booker prize, and The Light of Day (2002)
- Jonathan. 1667–1745, Anglo-Irish satirist and churchman, who became dean of St Patrick's, Dublin, in 1713. His works include A Tale of a Tub (1704) and Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Word Origin and History for swift
Old English swift "moving quickly," related to swifan "move in a course, sweep" (see swivel). Related: Swiftly; swiftness.
type of bird (several species of the family Cypselidæ, resembling swallows), 1660s, from swift (adj.) in reference to its swift flight. Regarded as a bird of ill-omen, if not downright demonic, probably for its shrill cry. The name earlier had been given to several small fast lizards (1520s).