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The Collaborative International Dictionary
black martin

Swift \Swift\, n.

  1. The current of a stream. [R.]

  2. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of small, long-winged, insectivorous birds of the family Micropodid[ae]. In form and habits the swifts resemble swallows, but they are destitute of complex vocal muscles and are not singing birds, but belong to a widely different group allied to the humming birds.

    Note: The common European swift ( Cypselus apus syn. Micropus apus) nests in church steeples and under the tiles of roofs, and is noted for its rapid flight and shrill screams. It is called also black martin, black swift, hawk swallow, devil bird, swingdevil, screech martin, and shriek owl. The common American, or chimney, swift ( Ch[ae]tura pelagica) has sharp rigid tips to the tail feathers. It attaches its nest to the inner walls of chimneys, and is called also chimney swallow. The Australian swift ( Ch[ae]tura caudacuta) also has sharp naked tips to the tail quills. The European Alpine swift ( Cypselus melba) is whitish beneath, with a white band across the breast. The common Indian swift is Cypselus affinis. See also Palm swift, under Palm, and Tree swift, under Tree.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of several species of lizards, as the pine lizard.

  4. (Zo["o]l.) The ghost moth. See under Ghost.

  5. [Cf. Swivel.] A reel, or turning instrument, for winding yarn, thread, etc.; -- used chiefly in the plural.

  6. The main card cylinder of a flax-carding machine.