Old English swift "moving quickly," perhaps originally "turning quickly," from Proto-Germanic swip- (see swivel (n.)). Related: Swiftly; swiftness.
type of bird (several species of the family Cypselidæ, resembling swallows), 1660s, from swift (adj.) in reference to its swift flight. Regarded as a bird of ill-omen, if not downright demonic, probably for its shrill cry. The name earlier had been given to several small fast lizards (1520s).