(redirected from swiftness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Life is short and time is swift.

Prov. You should enjoy life as much as possible, because it does not last very long. Jill: Want to go to the movies with me? Jane: Oh, I don't know; I should probably stay at work and finish a few things. Jill: Come on, Jane, life is short and time is swift.
See also: and, life, short, swift, time

*quick as a wink

 and *quick as a flash; *quick as (greased) lightning; *swift as lightning
very quickly. (*Also: as ~.) As quick as a wink, the thief took the lady's purse. I'll finish this work quick as a flash. Quick as greased lightning, the thief stole my wallet.
See also: quick, wink

swift and sure

fast and certain. (As with the flight of a well-aimed arrow.) The response of the governor to the criticism by the opposing party was swift and sure. The boxer's punch was swift and sure and resulted in a quick knockout and a very short match.
See also: and, sure, swift

*swift as an arrow

 and *swift as the wind; *swift as thought
very fast. (*Also: as ~.) The new intercity train is swift as an arrow. You won't have to wait for me long; I'll be there, swift as thought.
See also: arrow, swift

quick as a wink

Also, quick as a bunny or a flash . Very speedily, as in He was out of here quick as a wink, or She answered, quick as a bunny. These similes have largely replaced the earlier quick as lightning, although quick as a flash no doubt alludes to it (also see like greased lightning), and quick as thought, now obsolete. The bunny variant dates from the mid-1800s, the others from the late 1800s.
See also: quick, wink


1. mod. smart and clever. Excuse my brother. He’s not too swift.
2. mod. sexually fast or easy, usually said of a woman. Britney is swift, they say, but I find her to be a perfect lady.
References in periodicals archive ?
Admittedly, the existing research is contradictory, and support for the swiftness principle is lukewarm at best.
The NYPD shut down the Gotham soiree with the swiftness.
Thirty-five missing, vulnerable, people were found and 295 arrests were made last year, thanks to the swiftness of the police helicopter.
Commission officials have welcomed the swiftness of Romania's response to its mid-May findings, as they have that of Bulgaria, also hoping to join in January 2007.
When he heard about the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast, he responded with the instinctive swiftness of a team player and brought his crew and equipment to Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Finland, home of mobile phone giant Nokia, topped the study because of its swiftness in adapting new technology and the quality of its public institutions, the report says.
Today, pulp and paper company assets are traded with the swiftness and ruthlessness of a game of Texas Hold'em, all done for the sake of maximizing return.
What set Genghis Khan apart were the stunning swiftness of his horseback riders and the brilliance of his tactics.
Though the matter seems small in retrospect--a simple administrative error--real estate lawyers say the swiftness with which the IRS made its decision means that it will not let bureaucracy rule the process.
That's because classic criminological theory says there are three related factors involved in deterrence: the certainty, swiftness and severity of punishment.
The latter he deployed iconically in title pages, printer's marks, and decorated initials using such motifs as the dolphin, which symbolized Venetian swiftness at sea, and the anchor, symbolizing Venice's maritime stability; and he deployed similar motifs textually in mottoes and dedications.
Judged purely by the apparent swiftness and ease of his brushwork, one might mistake these works for studies.
Allied forces were stunned by the swiftness of the attack, in particular the sophistication of the delivery systems.
But the swiftness of the four-year-old's recovery has prompted a change of plan from trainer Francois Doumen, whose son Thierry will take the ride.