Online Encyclopedia

QUICK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 749 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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QUICK, a word which, by origin, and in early and many surviving uses, meant " living," " alive." It is common to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. keck, lively, Du. kwik, and Dan. kvik; cf. also Dan. kvaeg, cattle. The original root is seen in Skt. jiva; Lat. vivus, living, alive; Gr. (.3los, life. In its original sense the chief uses are such as " the quick and the dead," of the Apostles' Creed, a " quickset " hedge, i.e. consisting of slips of living privet, thorn, &c., the " quick," i.e. the tender parts of the flesh under hard skin or particularly under the nail. The phrase " quick with child " is a conversion of with a quick, i.e. living child. From the sense of having full vigour, living or lively qualities or movements, the word got its chief current meaning of possessing rapidity or speed of movement, mental or physical. It is thus used in the names of things which are in a constant or easily aroused condition of movement, e.g. " quicksand," loose water-logged sand, readily yielding to weight or pressure, and " quicksilver," the common name of the metal mercury (q.v.).
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