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[kwik-uh n] /ˈkwɪk ən/
verb (used with object)
to make more rapid; accelerate; hasten:
She quickened her pace.
to give or restore vigor or activity to; stir up, rouse, or stimulate:
to quicken the imagination.
to revive; restore life to:
The spring rains quickened the earth.
verb (used without object)
to become more active, sensitive, etc.:
This drug causes the pulse to quicken.
to become alive; receive life.
(of the mother) to enter that stage of pregnancy in which the fetus gives indications of life.
(of a fetus in the womb) to begin to manifest signs of life.
Origin of quicken
1250-1300; Middle English quikenen. See quick, -en1
Related forms
quickener, noun
requicken, verb
unquickened, adjective
2. animate, vitalize, enliven. 3. vivify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for quicken
  • You'll feel powerful, especially when your voice alone can make a roomful of pens and laptops quicken into life.
  • It helps quicken the ability to mimic without mastering concepts.
  • If he tried to raise the nose, the effect would be exactly the opposite: the turn would quicken, steepening the descent.
  • The old shell is an excellent source of minerals, so the lobster eats some of it to quicken the hardening of the new one.
  • She has a lot of pain from arthritis so will now try his quicken.
  • They demand thought and they serve to quicken the conscience and enlist our sense of responsibility for their settlement.
  • To quicken their watchfulness he promised rewards to the coast-guard patrol.
  • Runners who abbreviate their stride try instinctively to quicken their pace to compensate.
  • Suddenly in seemingly every storefront are wonderful handbags that quicken the pulse and promise to add dash to any wardrobe.
  • All this, it seemed to me, could only sharpen my eye and quicken my ear.
British Dictionary definitions for quicken


to make or become faster; accelerate: he quickened his walk, her heartbeat quickened with excitement
to impart to or receive vigour, enthusiasm, etc; stimulate or be stimulated: science quickens man's imagination
to make or become alive; revive
  1. (of an unborn fetus) to begin to show signs of life
  2. (of a pregnant woman) to reach the stage of pregnancy at which movements of the fetus can be felt
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 quicken

c.1300, "come to life; give life to," from quick (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "become faster" is from 1805. Related: Quickened; quickening. An earlier verb was simply quick (c.1200), from Old English gecwician.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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quicken in Medicine

quicken quick·en (kwĭk'ən)
v. quick·ened, quick·en·ing, quick·ens

  1. To become more rapid.

  2. To reach the stage of pregnancy when the fetus can be felt to move.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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