quick·​en | \ ˈkwi-kən \
quickened; quickening\ ˈkwi-​kə-​niŋ , 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 , 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

When he’s asked about the Roger Corman comparisons, his pulse quickens. Mickey Rapkin, Town & Country, "The Horror of Jason Blum," 17 Oct. 2018 To illustrate the point of how that could quicken the pace of the game, ESPN showed quick clips from Game 7 of the World Series where the Astros' Brian McCann went to the mound to talk to starting pitcher Lance McCullers multiple times each inning. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Lance McCullers upset with ESPN's SportsCenter segment," 20 Feb. 2018 By filling in these gaps in knowledge, researchers hope to help prepare for outbreaks of violence and quicken the recovery of wildlife in the aftermath—arming themselves not with guns, but with data. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "The Animal Cost of War," 11 Jan. 2018 Teachers felt left behind amid quickening private sector wage growth in a postwar economy. Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg.com, "Could Wildcat Teachers’ Strikes Spread to Other States?," 6 Mar. 2018 To make the move more challenging, try bringing your knee further in towards your elbow, says Mansour, or quicken the pace of your knee tucks, says Alicea. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's How to Do Octavia Spencer's Low-Impact Cardio Workout," 4 Oct. 2018 There has been some concern among North Korea experts that international support for sanctions might weaken now that the diplomatic pace is quickening. Michael C. Bender, WSJ, "Trump Expects ‘Very Positive’ Special Delivery From North Korea," 1 June 2018 However, the pace of innovation is quickening: Several companies can now tailor strands of DNA in ways that could revolutionize fields from agriculture to fragrances to medicine—and be profoundly dangerous in the wrong hands. Rebecca Spalding, Bloomberg.com, "The DNA Cops Who Make Sure the World’s Deadliest Viruses Aren’t Rebuilt," 27 June 2018 The RemoveDEBRIS system has been outfitted with a drag sail that will quicken its demise after the testing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Harpoon-Based Space Junk Capture System Is Getting Space Tested," 25 June 2018

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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Statistics for quicken

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quicken

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

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More Definitions for quicken



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 \
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 \
quickened; quickening\ -​(ə-​)niŋ \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quicken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quicken

Spanish Central: Translation of quicken

Nglish: Translation of quicken for Spanish Speakers

Comments on quicken

What made you want to look up quicken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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