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fleet2

[fleet] /flit/
adjective, fleeter, fleetest.
1.
swift; rapid:
to be fleet of foot; a fleet horse.
verb (used without object)
2.
to move swiftly; fly.
3.
Nautical. to change position; shift.
4.
Archaic.
  1. to glide along like a stream.
  2. to fade; vanish.
5.
Obsolete. to float; drift; swim.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause (time) to pass lightly or swiftly.
7.
Nautical.
  1. to move or change the position of.
  2. to separate the blocks of (a tackle).
  3. to lay (a rope) along a deck.
Origin of fleet2
900
before 900; Middle English fleten to be fleet, Old English flēotan to float; see float
Related forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Synonyms
6. speed, hasten; beguile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fleetness
Historical Examples
  • The shoe-shops of McKernan and Potts were the scenes of many heated arguments as to the fleetness of the different sleds.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
  • Off he flies, with the fleetness of fear, and in a few moments is seen no more.

    Mary S. Peake Lewis C. Lockwood
  • His fleetness is in the lions foot; he springs in the panther, he soars in the eagle, he slides in the snake.

    The Eagle's Nest John Ruskin
  • It was owing only to the fleetness of his horse that Tarleton escaped.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • Christian took little pride in his fleetness of foot, counting a man's legs to be the least worthy of his members.

    The Were-Wolf Clemence Housman
  • If I possess any physical accomplishment in which I have confidence it is my fleetness of foot.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • The sight lends to his steps the fleetness of an antelope; he bounds forward, and is soon at her side.

  • Still the stag did not attempt to fly, yet in fleetness it could have outstripped the wind.

    Manco, the Peruvian Chief W.H.G. Kingston
  • fleetness doth not make folks the faithfuller, or that youth yonder beats us all in faithfulness.

  • To the lion she gives claws and teeth; to the horse his hoofs and fleetness.

British Dictionary definitions for fleetness

fleet1

/fliːt/
noun
1.
a number of warships organized as a tactical unit
2.
all the warships of a nation
3.
a number of aircraft, ships, buses, etc, operating together or under the same ownership
Word Origin
Old English flēot ship, flowing water, from flēotan to float

fleet2

/fliːt/
adjective
1.
rapid in movement; swift
2.
(poetic) fleeting; transient
verb
3.
(intransitive) to move rapidly
4.
(intransitive) (archaic) to fade away smoothly; glide
5.
(transitive) (nautical)
  1. to change the position of (a hawser)
  2. to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
  3. to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
6.
(intransitive) (obsolete) to float or swim
7.
(transitive) (obsolete) to cause (time) to pass rapidly
Derived Forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Word Origin
probably Old English flēotan to float, glide rapidly; related to Old High German fliozzan to flow, Latin pluere to rain

fleet3

/fliːt/
noun
1.
(mainly Southeast English) a small coastal inlet; creek
Word Origin
Old English flēot flowing water; see fleet1

Fleet

/fliːt/
noun the Fleet
1.
a stream that formerly ran into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street and is now a covered sewer
2.
Also called Fleet Prison. (formerly) a London prison, esp used for holding debtors
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fleetness

fleet

n.

Old English fleot "ship, raft, floating vessel," from fleotan "to float" (see fleet (v.)). Sense of "naval force" is pre-1200. The Old English word also meant "creek, inlet, flow of water," especially one into the Thames near Ludgate Hill, which lent its name to Fleet Street (home of newspaper and magazine houses, standing for "the English press" since 1882), Fleet prison, etc.

adj.

"swift," 1520s, but probably older than the record; apparently from or cognate with Old Norse fliotr "swift," and from the root of fleet (v.)). Related: Fleetness.

v.

Old English fleotan "to float, drift, flow, swim, sail," later (c.1200) "to flow," from Proto-Germanic *fleut- (cf. Old Frisian fliata, Old Saxon fliotan "to flow," Old High German fliozzan "to float, flow," German flieszen "to flow," Old Norse fliota "to float, flow"), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, run, swim" (see pluvial).

Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c.1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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