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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Amid the sturm und drang in global markets, an apparent ray of light from China’s latest monthly purchasing managers index: the healthiest factory activity in eight months, with both total orders and new export orders quickening. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China Won’t Save Global Growth," 31 May 2018 As the drumming quickened, two performers walked out into the space between the cage and the crowd. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Florida prep school apologizes for using tiger as prom prop," 14 May 2018 On the campaign trail, Mosby pledged to quicken her efforts to bring criminal justice reform to Baltimore. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Marilyn Mosby wins re-election in three-way race for Baltimore state's attorney," 26 June 2018 Now David Deveau, the artistic director who oversaw that period of dramatic growth, has handed over the reins to Barry Shiffman, whose first summer of programming seems to be quickening the festival’s pulse. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "At Rockport, ushering in a new chapter with Tchaikovsky, Golijov, and high spirits," 17 June 2018 And here, in the classic African American tradition of preaching, the bishop’s pace began to quicken; his tone grew more insistent and his gestures more expansive. Randall Balmer, Washington Post, "‘Love is the only way’: How a black preacher’s royal wedding address showed the power of a good sermon," 21 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of quicken

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about quicken

Statistics for quicken

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quicken

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!