quick·​en | \ ˈkwi-kən How to pronounce quicken (audio) \
quickened; quickening\ ˈkwi-​kə-​niŋ How to pronounce quickening (audio) , ˈkwik-​niŋ \

Definition of quicken

transitive verb

1a : to make alive : revive
b : to cause to be enlivened : stimulate
2 archaic
a : kindle
b : to cause to burn more intensely
3 : to make more rapid : hasten, accelerate quickened her steps
4a : to make (a curve) sharper
b : to make (a slope) steeper

intransitive verb

1 : to quicken something
2 : to come to life especially : to enter into a phase of active growth and development seeds quickening in the soil
3 : to reach the stage of gestation at which fetal motion is felt
4 : to shine more brightly watched the dawn quickening in the east
5 : to become more rapid her pulse quickened at the sight

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Other Words from quicken

quickener \ ˈkwi-​kə-​nər How to pronounce quickener (audio) , ˈkwik-​nər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for quicken

quicken, animate, enliven, vivify mean to make alive or lively. quicken stresses a sudden renewal of life or activity especially in something inert. the arrival of spring quickens the earth animate emphasizes the imparting of motion or vitality to what is or might be mechanical or artificial. happiness animated his conversation enliven suggests a stimulus that arouses from dullness or torpidity. enlivened her lectures with humorous anecdotes vivify implies a freshening or energizing through renewal of vitality. new blood needed to vivify the dying club

synonyms see in addition provoke

Examples of quicken in a Sentence

Stimulants can quicken the heart rate. His pulse quickened at the thought of seeing her again. The approach of the deadline quickened our sense of urgency. The drama quickened when police arrived at the scene.
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Recent Examples on the Web With her pulse-quickening visage, tantalizing purr of a voice, and willowy physique toned by boxing and judo, Ms. Blackman gained a foothold in British films in the late 1940s. Adam Bernstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Honor Blackman, actress who played a Bond woman in ‘Goldfinger,’ dies at 94," 7 Apr. 2020 But as morning follows night over this work’s 24-hour time-frame, the drama quickens. The Economist, "Time for a curtain call A new interpretation of “Street Scene”, a seminal dramatic musical," 3 Feb. 2020 For drivers who want something pulse-quickening, there's Audi Sport. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2020 Audi RS7—our all-time favorite fastback just got even better," 24 Sep. 2019 Rather than employing the greatest-hits approach seen at most design collections—which present top-quality works, for sure, but end up looking the same—the Kirkland runs a pulse-quickening gamut. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art Review: A Quirky New Design Museum," 12 Mar. 2018 My breath began to quicken as the altitude gripped my lungs at around 8,000 feet. Emily Pennington, Outside Online, "Add Guadalupe Mountains to Your Must-Visit List," 1 May 2020 But there is one sense in which the basic disparity between this actress and this role feeds the quickening sensibility that infuses every aspect of Farber’s interpretation, which cannily condenses and rearranges the text for speed and focus. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Hamlet,’ Ruth Negga Rules as a Player Prince," 10 Feb. 2020 The clashes followed a recent decision by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to send more Turkish troops to Idlib: a gamble aimed at slowing the pace of a quickening Syrian military advance. Sarah Dadouch, BostonGlobe.com, "Syrian, Turkish soldiers trade deadly strikes in Idlib as residents attempt to flee," 10 Feb. 2020 Suddenly, monkeys could be heard crying in alarm — the pulse-quickening sound that typically signifies a predator’s approach. Peter Terzian, Travel + Leisure, "In Kenya, an Epic Photographic Safari Through Some of Africa's Most Dramatic Landscapes," 18 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quicken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of quicken

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for quicken

Time Traveler

The first known use of quicken was in the 14th century

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Statistics for quicken

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quicken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quicken. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for quicken


How to pronounce quicken (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of quicken

: to make (something) faster
: to become faster
: to make (something, such as a feeling) stronger or more active


quick·​en | \ ˈkwi-kən How to pronounce quicken (audio) \
quickened; quickening

Kids Definition of quicken

1 : to make or become faster : hasten They quickened their steps.
2 : to make or become stronger or more active Curiosity quickened my interest.
quick·​en | \ ˈkwik-ən How to pronounce quicken (audio) \
quickened; quickening\ -​(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce quickening (audio) \

Medical Definition of quicken

: to reach the stage of gestation at which fetal motion is felt

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More from Merriam-Webster on quicken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quicken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quicken

Spanish Central: Translation of quicken

Nglish: Translation of quicken for Spanish Speakers

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