ex·​pe·​di·​tious ˌek-spə-ˈdi-shəs How to pronounce expeditious (audio)
: marked by or acting with prompt efficiency
expeditiously adverb
expeditiousness noun

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The Real Root of Expeditious

Expeditious has had quite the journey through the English language. It comes to us from the related noun expedition, which in turn comes from the Latin verb expedire (“to set free” or “to make ready”). When expedition first set forth in English in the 1400s, it did so with two meanings that are still in use today, “a journey especially by a group of people for a specific purpose” and “efficient promptness.” Expeditious later followed as an adjectival form of the latter. Something (such as, say, preparation for a long voyage) done expeditiously is done quickly and efficiently; in other words, it is expedited. Like expeditious and expedition, expedite too comes from expedire.

Choose the Right Synonym for expeditious

fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity.

fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves

fast horses

and rapid to the movement itself.

rapid current

swift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement.

returned the ball with one swift stroke

fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness.

fleet runners

quick suggests promptness and the taking of little time.

a quick wit

speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment

speedy delivery of mail

and may also suggest unusual velocity.

hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness.

a hasty inspection

expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment.

the expeditious handling of an order

Examples of expeditious in a Sentence

a company that is well-regarded for its expeditious handling of any request or complaint
Recent Examples on the Web Two separate trials would not be expeditious or provide judicial economy. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Sep. 2023 In 1960, however, the prospects for an expeditious settlement were facilitated by an adherence to a set of social norms not yet shattered by social media. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 July 2023 Getting the right deal has always been more important to our board and to the conference than getting the expeditious one. oregonlive, 21 July 2023 Even on long-distance trips, the stops are determined more by the charging infrastructure than anything else, and the most expeditious method is to top up the battery just far enough—to maybe 80 or 90 percent, keeping it in the speedy part of the charge-rate curve—to get to the next charger. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 14 Feb. 2022 One factor leading some senators to favor an expeditious approach to legislation is a sense that Congress failed to take action early enough in response to the spread of social media years ago. Christopher Hutton, Washington Examiner, 16 May 2023 Republicans are looking to move at an expeditious pace. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, 24 Apr. 2023 The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Austin, observed at the time that the nonprofit leaders’ aura of good intentions may have shielded them from more expeditious scrutiny. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Apr. 2023 His personal style is expeditious. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expeditious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of expeditious was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near expeditious

Cite this Entry

“Expeditious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expeditious. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​pe·​di·​tious ˌek-spə-ˈdish-əs How to pronounce expeditious (audio)
: marked by or acting with promptness
expeditious service
expeditiously adverb
expeditiousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on expeditious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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