General English


  • adjective fast, not taking much time


  • noun a fast bowler
    Citation ‘Both Chappell and Inverarity mentioned Mike Whitney, the young left-arm quickie from New South Wales, as the best long-term prospect in Australia’ (Brearley 1982)
    Citation ‘The ball that moves in from on or just outside the off-stump sharply … has been one of the most effective weapons of the fast bowler through the ages. Indeed, of the quicksters of the present day, none uses it with more telling effect than Pakistan’s finest all-rounder, Imran Khan’ (Manley 1988)
    Citation ‘Proteas quick Andre Nel produced a sizzling 11-over spell late in the day which reaped 4–32’ (Herald Sun (Australia) 27 December 2005)

Origin & History of “quick”

Originally quick meant ‘alive’ (as in the now fossilized phrase the quick and the dead); it was not until the 13th century that the sense ‘rapid’ began to emerge. It goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *kwikwaz (which also produced Swedish kvick ‘rapid’); and this was descended from an Indo-European base *gwej-, which branched out into Latin vīvus ‘alive’ (source of English vivid), Greek bíos ‘life’ (source of English biology), Welsh byw ‘alive’, Russian zhivoj ‘alive’, etc.

The couch of couch grass (16th c.) is a variant of the now seldom encountered quitch, whose Old English ancestor cwice may be related to quick (the allusion presumably being to its vigorous growth).