Difference Wiki

Fast vs. Quick: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 6, 2023
"Fast" refers to sustained speed over time, while "quick" denotes brief, immediate speed or action.

Key Differences

Both "fast" and "quick" pertain to speed, but their uses often differ in context. While "fast" usually describes a consistent speed over a duration, "quick" often refers to a brief or immediate action.
If someone is a "fast runner," they can maintain a high speed over a considerable distance. On the other hand, a "quick glance" is momentary, implying it happened in a short span.
"Fast" can also describe the absence of movement, as in "holding fast" or "fast asleep," indicating a firmness or deepness. In contrast, "quick" can pertain to liveliness or responsiveness, as in "quick reflexes" or a "quick wit."
When referring to time, "fast" might suggest a longer duration of speed, like "The day went by fast." "Quick," however, might refer to immediacy, such as in the phrase "in a quick minute."
In some cases, the two words can be interchangeable without drastically altering the meaning, but subtle nuances can still exist. For instance, "fast response" might imply efficiency, while "quick response" emphasizes immediacy.

Comparison Chart


Sustained speed or action
Brief or immediate action

Common Contexts

Fast runner, fast forward, fast asleep
Quick glance, quick decision, quick reflexes

Time Reference

Longer duration ("The day went by fast")
Immediacy ("Do it quick")

Static Connotations

Holding position ("Hold fast")
Liveliness or responsiveness ("Quick wit")


Can sometimes be used interchangeably
Context can alter nuances when used interchangeably

Fast and Quick Definitions


Fast refers to sustained speed.
She drove fast to reach the destination on time.


Quick refers to a short duration or immediacy.
She made a quick stop at the store.


Fast indicates a firm or secure position.
The anchor held fast despite the storm.


Quick implies alertness or rapidity of action.
He has quick reflexes.


Fast can denote colors resistant to fading.
The fabric was dyed with fast colors.


Quick can denote liveliness or sharpness.
She responded with a quick wit.


Fast can mean deep or sound, especially regarding sleep.
He was fast asleep by midnight.


Quick can refer to the living or life.
The phrase the quick and the dead means the living and the deceased.


Fast relates to abstaining from food.
She observed a fast during the holy month.


Quick often suggests a brief moment.
I'll be back in a quick second.


Acting, moving, or capable of acting or moving quickly; swift.


Moving or functioning rapidly and energetically; speedy
An animal that is quick enough to escape most predators.


Accomplished in relatively little time
A fast visit.


Learning, thinking, or understanding with speed and dexterity; bright
A quick mind.


How is "quick" typically used?

To describe brief or immediate action or speed.

Can "fast" and "quick" be used interchangeably?

Sometimes, but nuances can differ based on context.

What's an example of "fast" denoting lack of movement?

"Hold fast," which means to remain firm or secure.

Which word might describe a day that seems short?

Fast, as in "The day went by fast."

Can "fast" mean secure or firm?

Yes, as in "holding fast."

Which word suggests a brief duration?


How can "fast" and "quick" differ in context?

"Fast" often implies sustained speed, while "quick" suggests immediacy.

How does "quick" relate to liveliness?

In phrases like "quick wit," suggesting sharpness or alertness.

Which word is often used for brief moments?


How does "fast" relate to colors?

Fast colors are those that don't easily fade.

What does "fast" usually indicate?

Sustained speed or action over time.

Does "quick" ever relate to life?

Yes, as in "the quick and the dead."

How can "fast" relate to food?

It can mean abstaining from food, as in observing a fast.

Which term might describe immediate reflexes?


Which term relates to sustained speed?


Is "quick" always about speed?

Not always. It can also denote alertness or sharpness.

Which term would describe a momentary glance?

Quick, as in "a quick glance."

Which word emphasizes immediacy?


Is "fast asleep" about speed?

No, it means deeply or soundly asleep.

Are there contexts where "fast" and "quick" mean nearly the same?

Yes, like "fast response" and "quick response," though nuances might differ.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons