QUICK, a word which, by origin, and in early and many surviving uses, meanl " living," " alive." Il is common lo Teulonic languages, cf. Ger. keck, lively, Du. kwik, and Dan. kvik; cf. also Dan. kvaeg, cattle. The original root is seen in Ski. jiva; Lat. vivus, living, alive; Gr. /Stos, life. In its original sense the chief uses are such as " the quick and the dead," oi the Apostles' Creed, a " quickset " hedge, i.e. consisting of slips of living privet, thorn, etc., the " quick," i.e. the tender parts of the flesh under hard skin or particularly under the nail. The phrase " quick wilh child " is a conversion of wilh 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.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)