Definition of swift adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//swɪft//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɪft//
    (swifter, swiftest)
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  1. 1happening or done quickly and immediately; doing something quickly swift action a swift decision He rose to his feet in one swift movement. swift to do something The White House was swift to deny the rumours.
  2. 2moving very quickly; able to move very quickly a swift current a swift runner Which Word?fast / quick / rapidThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns: fast car/​train/​bowler/​pace/​lane quick glance/​look/​reply/​decision/​way rapid change/​growth/​increase/​decline/​progress Fast is used especially to describe a person or thing that moves or is able to move at great speed. Quick is more often used to describe something that is done in a short time or without delay. Rapid, swift and speedy are more formal words. Rapid is most commonly used to describe the speed at which something changes. It is not used to describe the speed at which something moves or is done:a rapid train We had a rapid coffee. Swift usually describes something that happens or is done quickly and immediately:a swift decision The government took swift action. Speedy has a similar meaning:a speedy recovery. It is used less often to talk about the speed at which something moves:a speedy car. For the use of fast and quick as adverbs, .
  3. Word OriginOld English (as an adjective), from the Germanic base of Old English swīfan ‘move in a course, sweep’. The bird name dates from the mid 17th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: swift

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