adjective, quick·er, quick·est.
- endowed with life.
- having a high degree of vigor, energy, or activity.
- a line of shrubs or plants, especially of hawthorn, forming a hedge.
- a single shrub or plant in such a hedge.
adverb, quick·er, quick·est.
Origin of quick
Synonyms for quick
Antonyms for quick
Related Words for cut to the quickannoy, curse, taunt, ridicule, irritate, slander, libel, outrage, provoke, mock, humiliate, offend, revile, persecute, insult, criticize, decry, squelch, discredit, deride
- alive; living
- (as noun)living people (esp in the phrase the quick and the dead)
Word Origin for quick
Old English cwic "living, alive, animate," and figuratively, of mental qualities, "rapid, ready," from Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian quik, Old Norse kvikr "living, alive," Dutch kwik "lively, bright, sprightly," Old High German quec "lively," German keck "bold"), from PIE root *gweie- "to live" (see bio-). Sense of "lively, swift" developed by late 12c., on notion of "full of life."
NE swift or the now more common fast may apply to rapid motion of any duration, while in quick (in accordance with its original sense of 'live, lively') there is a notion of 'sudden' or 'soon over.' We speak of a fast horse or runner in a race, a quick starter but not a quick horse. A somewhat similar feeling may distinguish NHG schnell and rasch or it may be more a matter of local preference. [Buck]
Of persons, "mentally active," from late 15c. Also in Middle English used of soft soils, gravel pits, etc. where the ground is shifting and yielding (mid-14c., cf. quicksand). As an adverb from c.1300. To be quick about something is from 1937. Quick buck is from 1946, American English. Quick-change artist (1886) originally was an actor expert in playing different roles in the same performance of a show. Quick-witted is from 1520s.
"living persons," Old English cwic, from quick (adj.); frequently paired with the dead, e.g. Old English cwicum & deadum. The quick "tender part of the flesh" (under a nail, etc.) is from 1520s, as is the figurative use of it.
cut to the quick
Deeply wound or distress, as in His criticism cut her to the quick. This phrase uses the quick in the sense of a vital or a very sensitive part of the body, such as under the fingernails. It also appeared in such older locutions as touched to the quick, for “deeply affected,” and stung to the quick, for “wounded, distressed,” both dating from the early 1500s. The current expression was considered a cliché from about 1850 on.
In addition to the idioms beginning with quick
- quick and the dead
- quick as a wink
- quick off the mark
- quick one, a
- quick on the draw
- quick on the uptake
- cut to the quick
- (quick) on the uptake