\ ˈspēd How to pronounce speed (audio) \

Definition of speed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : rate of motion: such as
(2) : the magnitude of a velocity irrespective of direction
b : the act or state of moving swiftly : swiftness
c : impetus
2 : swiftness or rate of performance or action : velocity sense 3a
3a : the sensitivity of a photographic film, plate, or paper expressed numerically
b : the time during which a camera shutter is open
c : the light-gathering power of a lens or optical system
4 : a transmission gear in automotive vehicles or bicycles usually used in combination a ten-speed bicycle
5 : someone or something that appeals to one's taste just my speed
6 : methamphetamine also : a related stimulant drug and especially an amphetamine
7 archaic : prosperity in an undertaking : success
at speed
chiefly British
up to speed
: operating at full effectiveness or potential


sped\ ˈsped How to pronounce speed (audio) \ or speeded; speeding

Definition of speed (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to make haste sped to her bedside
b : to go or drive at excessive or illegal speed
2 : to move, work, or take place faster : accelerate the heart speeds up
3a archaic : to prosper in an undertaking
b archaic : get along, fare

transitive verb

1a : to cause to move quickly : hasten
b : to increase the speed of : accelerate
c : to wish Godspeed to
2a : to further the success of
b archaic : to cause or help to prosper : aid
3 : to send out speed an arrow

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Other Words from speed


speedster \ ˈspēd-​stər How to pronounce speed (audio) \ noun


speeder noun

Choose the Right Synonym for speed


haste, hurry, speed, expedition, dispatch mean quickness in movement or action. haste applies to personal action and implies urgency and precipitancy and often rashness. marry in haste hurry often has a strong suggestion of agitated bustle or confusion. in the hurry of departure she forgot her toothbrush speed suggests swift efficiency in movement or action. exercises to increase your reading speed expedition and dispatch both imply speed and efficiency in handling affairs but expedition stresses ease or efficiency of performance and dispatch stresses promptness in concluding matters. the case came to trial with expedition paid bills with dispatch

Examples of speed in a Sentence

Noun This instrument measures wind speed. The machine was operating at high speed. traveling at nearly the speed of light Under the right conditions the car can reach speeds over 200 miles an hour. The vehicle maintained a speed of 40 miles per hour. The work was done with remarkable speed. This computer works at a much faster processing speed than my old one. The machine chops up tree branches and leaves with speed and ease. Verb A group of kids sped past us on their bikes. They jumped in the car and sped away. A car was speeding down the street. An ambulance sped her to the hospital. I got pulled over twice last month because I was speeding on the highway.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In response, some employers have gone above and beyond to equip their employees with high-speed home Internet. Serenity Gibbons, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 An Urbana, Illinois, man and five juveniles all are facing multiple charges after a high-speed chase through Lake County that began on the Indiana Toll Road and that resulted in the recovery of two weapons, one which was reported stolen in Alabama. Carrie Napoleon, chicagotribune.com, 13 Sep. 2021 At high-speed, the engine works like a ramjet, ramming increased amounts of air through the engine chamber to create much, much more thrust. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 13 Sep. 2021 The airport is also working with the San Diego Association of Governments and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System on an ambitious plan to eventually deliver a high-speed transit connection to Terminals 1 and 2. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 Cities and urban counties across the country are raising concerns that a recent rule from President Biden’s administration could preclude them from tapping into $350 billion of coronavirus relief aid to expand high-speed Internet connections. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2021 The former has performed best this year at IMS, a permanent road course with virtually zero elevation change and a couple high-speed sections. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Sep. 2021 This dual band router upgrade to 1200 Mbps high speed internet. Chris Hachey, BGR, 10 Sep. 2021 Each plan also looks at how best to reconfigure transportation options, including the DART station under the convention center, and coordinate with the coming high-speed Dallas-to-Houston rail. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Swinomish Tribe is threatening to sue the federal government to speed up estuary restoration and salmon preservation on the Skagit River delta. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 The country's prime minister recently urged President Biden to speed the U.S. booster strategy, which currently plans for Americans to get their additional shots 8 months after completing their initial regimen. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 11 Sep. 2021 The pandemic forced employers across the nation to speed up a transition to remote work that, in many cases, had already begun. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 By Thursday, it is expected to speed up and turn north-northwest and north. Victoria Ballard, sun-sentinel.com, 8 Sep. 2021 Proposition 66, which voters approved in 2016 while refusing to repeal the death penalty, sought to speed up executions by limiting appeals as well as regulatory review of new lethal injection methods. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Sep. 2021 But while efforts have been made to speed up processing to meet the urgent need, Republicans have had little to say about the Trump administration's culpability. Priscilla Alvarez And Michael Warren, CNN, 3 Sep. 2021 There was no immediate indication that Beijing would agree to speed up its timeline for reducing emissions. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 If a supplier is engaged in activities that could hurt the brand, subscribers can use Datamyne's intelligence tools to speed up sourcing with new companies. Steve Banker, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of speed


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3a

History and Etymology for speed


Middle English spede, from Old English spēd; akin to Old High German spuot prosperity, speed, Old English spōwan to succeed, Latin spes hope, Lithuanian spėti to be in time

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Time Traveler for speed

Time Traveler

The first known use of speed was before the 12th century

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Statistics for speed

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Speed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speed. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for speed



English Language Learners Definition of speed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the rate at which someone or something moves or travels
: the rate at which something happens or is done
: the quality of being quick



English Language Learners Definition of speed (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move fast
: to move (someone or something) somewhere very quickly
: to drive faster than the legal speed limit


\ ˈspēd How to pronounce speed (audio) \

Kids Definition of speed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : quickness in movement or action
2 : rate of moving or doing a speed of 100 miles an hour


sped\ ˈsped \ or speeded; speeding

Kids Definition of speed (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move or cause to move fast : hurry
2 : to go or drive at too high a rate of movement I got a ticket for speeding.
3 : to increase the rate of an action or movement How can we speed this process?
speed up
: to move more quickly


\ ˈspēd How to pronounce speed (audio) \

Medical Definition of speed

: methamphetamine also : a related stimulant drug and especially an amphetamine

More from Merriam-Webster on speed

Nglish: Translation of speed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of speed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about speed


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