Definitions of swift

  1. common western lizard; seen on logs or rocks
  2. an English satirist born in Ireland ( 1667- 1745)
  3. United States meat- packer who began the use of refrigerated railroad cars ( 1839- 1903)
  4. small plain- colored bird that resembles a swallow and is noted for its rapid flight
  5. A bird of the humming- bird family, but resembling the swallow; a kind of moth.
  6. Swiftness.
  7. The current of a stream. " He can live in the strongest swifts of the water."- Iz. Walton. ( Rare): a reel or turning instrument for winding yarn: the common name of birds of the genus Cypselus, family Cypselidae. They have an outward resemblance to the swallows, but differ much from them in various structural points. The common swift ( C. apus) has the greatest powers of flight of any bird that visits Britain. Its color is in general a sombre or sooty black, with a grayish- white patch under the chin. The beak is black, shorter than that of the swallow, and without the lateral bristles. The wings are even longer than those of the swallow, and are sickle- shaped. The tarsi are short, and feathered to the toes, which are all directed forwards. The swifts pass most of their time in the air, where they pursue their insect prey. Their flight is swift and shooting, and their scream very different from the twittering of the swallow. They build their nests in holes in the walls of houses, in rocks, and sometimes in hollow trees. The swift reaches its summer quarters later, and leaves earlier than the swallows. Another species, the white- bellied or Alpine swift ( C. alpinus), is known in Gt. Britain, but it is only a rare straggler. The weight of the swift is most disproportionately small to its extent of wing, the former being scarcely an ounce, the latter 18 inches, the length of the body being near 8 inches. The swift is widely spread through Europe, Asia, and Africa. The American swift ( Choetura pelasgia) is smaller, has the hind- toe directed backwards, and the tail- feathers stiff as in woodpeckers. It is commonly called the chimney swallow: the common newt or eft, a species of lizard.
  8. A kind of swallow.
  9. A swallow- like bird, as the chimney swift.
  10. A bird of the swallow family, of swift flight and almost constantly on the wing; the common newt; a reel for winding yarn; the current of a stream.
  11. A bird of the swallow tribe, so called from the rapidity of its flight.
  12. Swiftly.
  13. Rapidly.
  14. In a swift or rapid manner: swiftly. " Light boats sail swift."- Shak.
  15. Moving a great distance in a short time; moving with celerity or velocity; fleet; rapid; quick; speedy; prompt.
  16. The current of a stream.
  17. Any one of numerous species of small, long- winged, insectivorous birds of the family Micropodidae. In form and habits the swifts resemble swallows, but they are destitute of complex vocal muscles and are not singing birds, but belong to a widely different group allied to the humming birds.
  18. Any one of several species of lizards, as the pine lizard.
  19. The ghost moth. See under Ghost.
  20. A reel, or turning instrument, for winding yarn, thread, etc.; -- used chiefly in the plural.
  21. The main card cylinder of a flax- carding machine.
  22. Moving far in a short time; rapid; speedy; passing quickly; as, the swift hours, acting quickly; prompt; as, swift to answer.
  23. Moving with great speed, celerity, velocity, or rapidity; fleet; rapid; quick; speedy; " The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong."- Eccles. ix. 11.; ready; prompt; quick; " Having so swift and excellent a wit."- Shak.; " Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." - Jam. i. 19: coming suddenly, without delay; " There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." - 2 Pet. ii. 2: of short continuance; rapidly passing; " Make swift the pangs of my queens travails."- Shak.
  24. Fleet; rapid; quick.
  25. Moving rapidly; fleet; rapid; quick.
  26. Passing rapidly; brief.
  27. Unexpected; sudden.
  28. Moving with celerity or velocity; fleet; ready; prompt; speedy; expeditious.
  29. Moving a great distance in a short time; quick; nimble; speedy; ready.