Skip to main content

Agile vs Nimble vs Brisk vs Spry

Agile, Nimble, Brisk and Spry mean acting or moving with quickness and alacrity.

Agile implies dexterity and ease in the management of one’s limbs or, by extension, one’s wits.

  • agile as a monkey
  • in a flow of racy comment, skimming from one topic to another with an agile irrelevance
    Rose Macaulay

Nimble suggests surpassing lightness and swiftness of movement or action, and often implies a darting here and there.

  • nimble as a squirrel
  • Madame Defarge knitted with nimble fingers
  • nimble feet scudding over the springy turf

Brisk implies liveliness, animation, or vigor of movement

  • a brisk canter
  • a brisk walking pace
  • to have brisk and intelligent talk

It is sometimes applied to things that do not move but are invigorating or exhilarating.

  • brisk day
  • brisk reply
  • she walked briskly in the brisk air
    George Eliot

Spry stresses alacrity arising from vigor or health; however it is frequently applied to those from whom alacrity or briskness of movement is not to be expected.

  • the old lady is as spry as a cricket
  • she is down one day, and up and spry the next