swift

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swift,

common name for small, swallowlike birds related to the hummingbird and found all over the world, chiefly in the tropics. They range in size from 6 to 12 in. (15–30 cm) in length. Swifts have long wings and small feet and can perch only on vertical surfaces. They scoop up insects in their wide mouths while on the wing. Swifts are the most rapid fliers known among living creatures. In the United States the common eastern species is the chimney swift, Chaetura pelagica, miscalled chimney swallow. Its spiny tail acts as a prop when it clings to the chimneys in which it builds its nest of twigs, cemented with saliva. In the W United States are the black, Vaux's, and white-throated swifts. Some Asian swifts make their entire nest of a salivary secretion; these are the nests that are used to make bird's-nest soup. The common European swift is sometimes called hawk swallow. Other species include the brown-throated spinetail swift (C. gigantea) of India and the Philippines; the scissor-tailed swift (Panyptila sancti-Hieronymi) of Guatemala; the white-rumped swift (Apus caffer) of Africa; and the palm swift (Cypsiurus parvus) of SE Asia. True swifts vary greatly in their nesting habits, some being cliff breeders, some using palm leaves for building their nests, and others nesting in chimneys. Found in a separate family of the same order are the crested swifts, which are restricted to SE Asia. These birds roost in trees and inhabit the open woodlands. They feed on insects, caught on the wing. Crested swifts build tiny nests, about the size of a silver dollar, on tree branches. They deposit a single gray-blue egg, which is glued to the center of the nest. Swifts are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Apodiformes, families Apodidae (swifts) and Hemiprocnidae (crested swifts).

Swift

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A planet is said to be swift when it appears to be moving faster than average. Because of its elliptical orbit, the Moon, especially, can move noticeably more slowly or more rapidly than its average of 13°10’ per 24-hour period.

swift

In prestressing, the reel or turntable on which the tendons are placed for convenience in handling and placement.

swift

1. any bird of the families Apodidae and Hemiprocnidae, such as Apus apus (common swift) of the Old World: order Apodiformes. They have long narrow wings and spend most of the time on the wing
2. a variety of domestic fancy pigeon originating in Egypt and Syria and having an appearance somewhat similar to a swift
3. any of certain North American lizards of the genera Sceloporus and Uta that can run very rapidly: family Iguanidae (iguanas)
4. the main cylinder in a carding machine
5. an expanding circular frame used to hold skeins of silk, wool, etc.

Swift

1. Graham Colin. born 1949, British writer: his novels include Waterland (1983), Last Orders (1996), which won the Booker prize, and The Light of Day (2002)
2. Jonathan. 1667--1745, Anglo-Irish satirist and churchman, who became dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1713. His works include A Tale of a Tub (1704) and Gulliver's Travels (1726)

Swift

(1) A programming language from Apple for creating Mac OS X and iOS applications. Introduced in 2014, Swift supports Apple's traditional language and interfaces for desktop and mobile development (Objective-C, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch). Swift added constructs to make program statements clearer; for example, defining non-changing variables as a "constant" type. "Tuples" enable compound values to be passed to functions, and "optionals" provide a safer way to support variables that are empty. See Objective-C.

(2) (SWIFT, La Hulpe, Belgium, www.swift.com) An industry cooperative that provides a standard format for transmitting payments, stock transactions, letters of credit and other financial messages to more than 7,500 member banks, broker-dealers and investment organizations around the world. Founded in 1973 as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, millions of transactions worth several trillions of dollars are sent each day with an average transit time of 20 seconds. Working like a bank routing number, a SWIFT code is widely used to transfer funds between banks.