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verb (used with object)
  1. to make more rapid; accelerate; hasten: She quickened her pace.
  2. to give or restore vigor or activity to; stir up, rouse, or stimulate: to quicken the imagination.
  3. to revive; restore life to: The spring rains quickened the earth.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become more active, sensitive, etc.: This drug causes the pulse to quicken.
  2. to become alive; receive life.
  3. (of the mother) to enter that stage of pregnancy in which the fetus gives indications of life.
  4. (of a fetus in the womb) to begin to manifest signs of life.
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Origin of quicken

First recorded in 1250–1300, quicken is from the Middle English word quikenen. See quick, -en1
Related formsquick·en·er, nounre·quick·en, verbun·quick·ened, adjective

Synonyms for quicken

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for quicken

promote, strengthen, revive, accelerate, hasten, spur, stimulate, expedite, revitalize, activate, inspire, spring, move, actuate, dispatch, pique, arouse, vivify, animate, speed

Examples from the Web for quicken

Contemporary Examples of quicken

Historical Examples of quicken

British Dictionary definitions for quicken


  1. to make or become faster; acceleratehe quickened his walk; her heartbeat quickened with excitement
  2. to impart to or receive vigour, enthusiasm, etc; stimulate or be stimulatedscience quickens man's imagination
  3. to make or become alive; revive
    1. (of an unborn fetus) to begin to show signs of life
    2. (of a pregnant woman) to reach the stage of pregnancy at which movements of the fetus can be felt
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for quicken


c.1300, "come to life; give life to," from quick (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "become faster" is from 1805. Related: Quickened; quickening. An earlier verb was simply quick (c.1200), from Old English gecwician.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quicken in Medicine


  1. To reach the stage of pregnancy when the fetus can be felt to move.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.