Will's word

30th April 2004 at 01:00

Word 75: Word meaning = (adjective) 'rapid, swift'

The modern meaning was well established by Shakespeare's time, but also common in the plays and poems are meanings which are now either obsolete or archaic. The sense of "living, full of life" is there when Anne rejects the thought of marrying Dr Caius: "I had rather be set quick i'th'earth, And bowled to death with turnips" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, III.iv.84) - buried up to my neck, she means. And this is the sense used adverbially when Hamlet compares his love of Ophelia to that of Laertes: "Be buried quick with her, and so will I" (Hamlet, V.i.275).

A related meaning is "lively", "animated", "vivacious" - often heard when people talk about somebody's character. The Constable refers to the "quick blood" of the French (Henry V, III.v.21); Brutus talks about Antony's "quick spirit" (Julius Caesar, I.ii.29) and Casca's "quick mettle" (I.ii.293); and Nestor describes Cressida as "a woman of quick sense" (Troilus and Cressida, IV.v.54).

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today