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adj. swift·er, swift·est
1. Moving or capable of moving with great speed; fast. See Synonyms at fast1.
2. Coming, occurring, or accomplished quickly: a swift retort.
3. Quick to act or react: swift to take revenge.
Swiftly. Often used in combination: swift-running.
a. A cylinder on a carding machine.
b. A reel used to hold yarn as it is being wound off.
2. Any of various small dark insect-eating birds of the family Apodidae, having long pointed wings and a short forked tail, and noted for their swift flight.
3. Any of various small, fast-moving North American lizards, especially of the genus Sceloporus.

[Middle English, from Old English.]

swift′ly adv.
swift′ness n.


(Nautical Terms) nautical a line run around the ends of capstan bars to prevent their falling out of their sockets
[C17: related to the nautical term swift to fasten with tight-drawn ropes; probably Scandinavian in origin: compare Old Norse svipta to reef]
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References in classic literature ?
A YOUNG FAWN once said to his Mother, "You are larger than a dog, and swifter, and more used to running, and you have your horns as a defense; why, then, O Mother!
Pinocchio went through the water like a shot--swifter and swifter. He came close to the rock.
'Brother, little brother, come to me,' the swifter he fled after his brothers the wolves, and the heavier grew his skin, till, with a long howl, he vanished into the depths of the forest.
And swifter still he seeks decay When groping for the unattainable Or grieving over continents unknown.
Love and regret go hand in hand in this world of changes swifter than the shifting of the clouds reflected in the mirror of the sea.
Now they are on the bridge, and down they go again at a swifter pace, and the arch of the covered wagon disappears at the turning behind the trees.
Here it was joined by a river of greater magnitude and swifter current, and their united waters swept off through the valley in one impetuous stream, which, from its rapidity and turbulence, had received the name of the Mad River.
He was a good runner, swifter than any puppy of his size, and swifter than Lip-lip.
Again, we may suppose that at an early period one man preferred swifter horses; another stronger and more bulky horses.
Earth her gracious fruits denies; Women wail in barren throes; Life on life downstriken goes, Swifter than the wind bird's flight, Swifter than the Fire-God's might, To the westering shores of Night.
An elk shall not measure the prairie much swifter than these old legs, if the Pawnee will give me a message that a white man may bear."
The trees impending over it had flung down great branches from time to time, which choked up the current, and compelled it to form eddies and black depths at some points; while, in its swifter and livelier passages there appeared a channel-way of pebbles, and brown, sparkling sand.