ra·​pid·​i·​ty rə-ˈpi-də-tē How to pronounce rapidity (audio)
: the quality or state of being rapid

Examples of rapidity in a Sentence

the rapidity with which she can do mental math calculations is amazing
Recent Examples on the Web At Washington Dulles International Airport, the autumn air rushed about with almost equal rapidity. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2023 The rapidity with which Ernest, without a glimmer or a flicker of self-awareness, is drawn into petty crime and then into murderous schemes, suggests an existential vortex of normalized depredation. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2023 Given the rapidity with which fire spreads, taking time to first call 911 seems counter intuitive. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 7 Sep. 2023 On the other hand, to cope with the rapidity and unpredictability of technological change, practitioners also need to be able to quickly grasp new developments and adapt to change. Foreign Affairs, 21 Aug. 2023 There is no little irony in recognizing that the rapidity with which this took place—a brief 120 years from the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778 to the annexation of the kingdom in 1898—is ample testimony to the generosity of spirit, patience, endurance, and adaptability of the Hawaiians. Time, 17 Aug. 2023 The rapidity of the collapse is going to be terrifying. Brynn Tannehill, The New Republic, 24 July 2023 Beyond the plane problems, all international travelers to and from China need to have a visa, but the rapidity with which China changed its travel policies has made acquiring one a struggle. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 10 Apr. 2023 According to the story which spread with the rapidity of South African tom-tom intelligence, the mechanical man had escaped from Professor May’s control and made his way to the nudist camp. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from French & Latin; French rapidité, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin rapiditāt-, rapiditās, from rapidus "flowing violently, rapid entry 1" + -itāt-, -itās -ity

First Known Use

1654, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rapidity was in 1654

Dictionary Entries Near rapidity

Cite this Entry

“Rapidity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapidity. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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