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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 quickening
  • The quickening expansion will eventually pull galaxies apart faster than light, causing them to drop out of view.
  • And whether it is the glaciers' weight, speed or volume that is measured, a quickening of the their movement can be detected.
  • Instead the pace at which he is running out of friends seems to be quickening.
  • After the storms of the past few years, the delights of political calm and quickening economic recovery.
  • The war was quickening other changes in the country, as suggested by that telegraphic messenger.
  • Her nurse could hear his boots, quickening down the hospital hall.
  • We splashed our way into the quickening ebb of the long colonial tide.
  • The rate at which that pace is quickening since the beginning of the year is nearly beyond imagining.
  • Wheat prices roared higher yesterday, stoked by the quickening pace of exports and low supplies.
  • Seas are meanwhile rising around the world at a quickening pace in a phenomenon that scientists attribute to global warming.
British Dictionary definitions for quickening


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 quickening



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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quickening in Medicine

quickening n.
The initial signs of fetal life felt by the mother as a result of the movements by the fetus.

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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