swift

adjective
\ˈswift \

Definition of swift 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1 : moving or capable of moving with great speed a swift runner

2 : occurring suddenly or within a very short time a swift transition

3 : quick to respond : ready

swift

adverb

Definition of swift (Entry 2 of 5)

: swiftly swift-flowing

swift

noun

Definition of swift (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : any of several lizards (especially of the genus Sceloporus) that run swiftly

2 : a reel for winding yarn or thread

3 : any of numerous small plainly colored birds (family Apodidae) that are related to the hummingbirds but superficially much resemble swallows

Swift

biographical name (1)
\ˈswift \

Definition of Swift (Entry 4 of 5)

Gustavus Franklin 1839–1903 American meatpacker

Swift

biographical name (2)

Definition of Swift (Entry 5 of 5)

Jonathan 1667–1745 English (Irish-born) satirist

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from swift

Biographical name (2)

Swiftian \ˈswif-tē-ən \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for swift

Adjective

fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity. fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves fast horses and rapid to the movement itself. rapid current swift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement. returned the ball with one swift stroke fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness. fleet runners quick suggests promptness and the taking of little time. a quick wit speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment speedy delivery of mail and may also suggest unusual velocity. hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness. a hasty inspection expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment. the expeditious handling of an order

Examples of swift in a Sentence

Adjective

a swift and accurate response the sleekest, swiftest boat ever to have sailed in the regatta

Adverb

tried to cross the swift-flowing river
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images The swift decision to entrust him with control of the team coincided with another critical development in this classic Hollywood saga: Jeanie Buss’s own family members were plotting to overthrow her. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Was Courted by the Lakers," 2 July 2018 When Mississippi State suddenly no longer had a baseball coach after an abrupt resignation in February, right-handed commit Cole Winn made a swift and easy decision. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "High hopes: Rangers' top pick Cole Winn wants to emulate legend Nolan Ryan," 12 June 2018 On Tuesday, May 29, ABC made the swift decision to cancel the Roseanne reboot after its star Rosanne Barr went on a racist Twitter rant that compared Valerie Jarrett, a former Barack Obama aide, to an ape. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Cast Members and Celebrities Are Praising the Decision to Cancel Roseanne," 29 May 2018 The president arrived at a swift decision to cancel the summit. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "White House commitment to summit ended as spontaneously as it began," 25 May 2018 The president arrived at a swift decision to cancel the summit. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "North Korea Summit Ended Like It Started: With a Quick, Chaotic Call by Trump," 25 May 2018 Actress Molly Ringwald thanked Southwest Airlines publicly on Twitter this week, saying the swift decision to emergency land a plane saved her father's life. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Actress Molly Ringwald thanks Southwest Airlines for helping save her dad's life | The Sacramento Bee," 28 Apr. 2018 The European court rarely makes swift decisions and Latvia’s Corruption Prevention Bureau, which is leading the investigation into Mr. Rimsevics, has said that the case would not be handed over to prosecutors for months. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Banker Finds He Has ‘Even More Enemies Than I Thought’," 23 Apr. 2018 The modifications, which primarily ensure swift decisions are made regarding make-up dates, will be put in place by August and go into effect this fall. J.c. Carnahan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "FHSAA football changes get green light from athletic directors," 12 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a composer and bassist, Linda May Han Oh is always trying to maintain a swift and multidirectional motion without sacrificing clarity or precision. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Live Jazz: 5 April Standouts, From Andrew Cyrille to Linda May Han Oh," 2 May 2018 Buzz: Dynamic skater and puck carrier who makes a swift first pass. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings options with sixth overall pick in 2018 NHL draft," 29 Apr. 2018 The group demanded a swift and independent investigation of cases in which journalists have been targeted. Ashok Sharma, Fox News, "Media watchdog urges India to protect journalists," 4 July 2018 The group demanded a swift and independent investigation of cases in which journalists have been targeted. Washington Post, "Media watchdog urges India to protect journalists," 4 July 2018 Naturally, Twitter weighed in: taylor swift and j.k. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift and J.K. Rowling Posed for a Selfie and Ignited an Important Debate," 25 June 2018 While taking a child from a parent is swift, the process of reconnecting them is long, legally complex and logistically challenging, a task made more difficult by bureaucratic tangles across various federal agencies. Richard Marosi, latimes.com, "What family separation looks like: Guatemalan man is deported, while his 6-year-old daughter remains behind in New York City," 21 June 2018 So, despite Helmchen’s gradations of touch, tone and color, his swift, clean interpretations suggested the pieces had been pretty much unencumbered by extramusical associations. Alan Artner, chicagotribune.com, "German pianist Martin Helmchen closes Piano Series with Orchestra Hall recital," 11 June 2018 The truth was that Bobby’s decision to challenge the president was anything but swift and calculated. Larry Tye, BostonGlobe.com, "An open letter to Joe Kennedy III: Here’s how to run for president," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swift.' 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 swift

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for swift

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English swīfan to revolve — more at swivel

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swift

Dictionary Entries near swift

swich

swidden

Swietenia

swift

Swift

swiften

swiftering line

Statistics for swift

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swift

The first known use of swift was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for swift

swift

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of swift

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: happening or done quickly or immediately

: moving or able to move very fast

: smart or intelligent

swift

noun

English Language Learners Definition of swift (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small bird that has long, narrow wings

swift

adjective
\ˈswift \
swifter; swiftest

Kids Definition of swift

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : moving or capable of moving with great speed a swift river a swift runner

2 : occurring suddenly a swift kick a swift descent

Other Words from swift

swiftly adverb
swiftness noun

swift

adverb

Kids Definition of swift (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a swift manner I crossed a swift-flowing river.

swift

noun

Kids Definition of swift (Entry 3 of 3)

: a small usually black bird that is related to the hummingbirds but looks like a swallow

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on swift

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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