That was actually the original meaning in English as well: Old English fæst meant firmly fixed, steadfast, secure, enclosed.
The modern sense was probably derived via running fast in the sense of running firmly, running hard. It's funny how adjectives can turn into their opposites over just a few centuries.
Maybe it's a correct variant. (If this were a German course, quick would be a correct translation of schnell.) Though the stereotype for horses is of course that they are fast, not quick. And if you really mean quick, I think you can express this in Dutch by using fiks or kwiek, which should be less ambiguous.
Yes, quick is translated as snel, but in English "quick" and "fast" have different flavors. When used with an animal or plant, the first meaning of the word "quick" is "alive", according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. We do have a tendency to say "The horse is fast. Did you see his speed? His time was quick." We just don't usually say "The horse is quick." to mean fast. Another meaning of "quick" is that someone learns fast and that can also be applied to the horse. So, there are two different meanings that don't come with the word "fast". "Did you see how quick he was to catch on?" Usually, if we say quick, we will specify what he was quick at: for example, "The horse was quick to reach the end of the pasture." (If we just say "quick", people might mistake the first meaning of "alive", although perhaps not, as that is an archaic meaning at that. ) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quick
Seriously? The "alive" meaning of "quick" hasn't been current for centuries, and the only reason it's even halfway familiar to people is because of expressions like "the quick and the dead", "quicksilver", and "cut to the quick". An expression such as "a quick horse" is a little unusual ("a fast horse" being more usual), but it definitely means only "a fast horse", and not "a living horse".
The Oxford English Dictionary—and I mean the large multivolume historical dictionary that by now is about a century out of date—says under "quick" (alongside its meaning of "fast"): "Living, endowed with life, in contrast to what is naturally inanimate. Now dial. or arch.". Notice: a hundred years ago, that meaning was solely dialectical or archaic. The most modern example that it give for this meaning, putting aside poetry from the 19th century, is "1611 Speed Hist. Gt. Brit. ix. xiii. (1623) 741: They could see no quicke things left but onely Owles." My point is that no native speaker today is going to mistake "quick" for "alive" just because it is applied to a living thing.
The British dictionary does differ from the American dictionary. Interesting! You may well be right, but there is still a difference in flavor of meaning. You do agree that "a fast horse" is more usual than "a quick horse." We do say "a quick time."
Yet, it is true that the meaning of "alive" is not assumed for an animal that is not ill. It still may mean an animal that is intelligent enough to learn quickly.
I don't think it's anything to do with the differences between American English and what you call "British" English, and I don't believe that native speakers anywhere are likely to interpret "quick" as "alive" (which is more to the point of the original comment). And yes, "quick" as in "intelligent" is definitely current. OK, well, let's not clutter up the board with our disagreement. There are languages to learn!
This could be a matter of local dialects, or even ideolects influenced by reading a lot of old literature. But then we all have a tendency to consider rare meanings wrong when we encounter them consciously, even if we wouldn't consider them unusual when encountering them in a natural communicative situation.
By the way, quick has a similar status in German. In some dialects it is an adjective meaning quick or fast. In the standard language it has disappeared as a separate word, but the original meaning is still apparent from Quecksilber and quicklebendig (quick [and] alive, vivacious). Dutch kwiek probably has a similar history.
From England (Midlands) and Wales (South). We also say, for example, "He runs as quick as lightning" (as well, of course, as "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog").
The obsolete and the current meanings of "quick" are well illustrated in that old joke that goes "When it comes to crossing the road, there are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead".
They sure do! However, if an adjective proceeds the noun it's modifying, it never gets the -e ending. That's why "snel" doesn't have the -e ending in this sentence.
Whenever the adjective precedes the noun it's modifying, however, there are certainly instances where adjectives modifying het words get the -e ending. Determining whether a preceding adjective gets the -e ending is actually quite easy, as long as you follow a few rules.
- Is the adjective modifying a de word? If so, it will get the -e ending for sure.
- Is the adjective modifying a plural noun? If so, it will get the -e ending for sure.
- Is the adjective modifying a het word? If a definite article or possessive pronoun is used, it'll get the -e ending.
- Is the adjective modifying a het word, but there is no definite article or possessive pronoun used? It will not get the -e ending.
If there is no definite article or possessive pronoun, chances are een or geen is being used.
Keep in mind that if the adjective goes after the noun, as it does in this sentence, the -e ending won't be used regardless of gender or number. Also, make note of this: There are certain adjectives that simply never get the -e ending. The Tips & Notes in the Adjectives skill explains all of the rules and gives some examples of the few adjectives that never receive -e endings, so I suggest you take a peek at those. :D