\ ˈspēd How to pronounce speed (audio) \

Definition of speed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


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

Definition of speed (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from speed


speedster \ ˈspēd-​stər How to pronounce speedster (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


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.


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

And this was a man with the kind of complicated mechanics — wildly varying speeds, arm slots and repertoire — that can cause arm problems. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "The Giants are fun again, and that’s half the battle," 5 July 2019 Nowadays, the app is a pretty capable third-party camera app in its own right, with support for features like setting separate focus and exposure points and manually tweaking ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Moment Pro Camera gets support for long-exposure photography on iOS," 3 July 2019 His top speed this season: 94 mph, one time in his second start. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Strahm’s velocity philosophy; top of order a hit," 2 July 2019 The fourth-round draft pick will have a 69 overall in the game while boasting an 84 in speed, 87 in acceleration and 82 in agility. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Former Kentucky football players get Madden NFL 20 rookie ratings," 2 July 2019 Great speed, great intensity and great camaraderie. Christian Simmons, sun-sentinel.com, "‘A lot of positives’: Florida Panthers happy with results from development camp," 30 June 2019 Previous SlideNext Slide WireGuard is a new peer-to-peer VPN technology that has the potential for greater speed, smaller attack surface, and easier configuration than commonly used and better-established VPN platforms such as OpenVPN and IPSec. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "WireGuard on Windows early preview," 27 June 2019 This change in speed (from down to up) happens over a time interval of about 0.2 seconds or less. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "That Viral 'Gyro Drop' Ride Was Fake. Here's How You Can Tell," 27 June 2019 What has nine tails, super speed, and an appetite for men's souls? Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Move Over, Vampires — There's A New Mythological Creature In YA Fiction & She Is Foxy," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The strategy uses two rotors spinning in opposite directions, which neutralizes a conventional helicopter’s tendency to lose lift as speeds increase. Eric Adams, WIRED, "The Pirouetting S-97 Raider Makes Your Helicopter Look Lazy," 5 July 2019 Here’s to hoping everything goes off without a hitch, and this system actually speeds the replay process to a rate that benefits the NBA’s growing global fanbase. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "Zion Williamson's Debut and the Top NBA Summer League Storylines to Watch," 4 July 2019 Ariana Grande recently put out a music video for her song Monopoly that features a Chamberlainesque jumble of low-quality video, bouncing JPEGS, sped-up sequences. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Emma Chamberlain and the Rise of the Relatable YouTuber," 3 July 2019 Workman continued eastbound and sped onto the westbound I-580 onramp. Adrian Rodriguez, The Mercury News, "Police arrest armed Bay Area burglary suspect after freeway chase," 30 June 2019 Now, researchers have developed a new material that speeds the process of evaporation, enabling a small solar still to provide all the drinking water one family needs. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New solar technology could produce clean drinking water for millions in need," 28 June 2019 Verizon shared the image above of an LG V50 ThinQ, one of the four 5G-ready devices on its network, passing 2 Gbps download speeds in Aurora, Colorado. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Verizon’s 5G network is coming to Denver today and Providence on July 1st," 27 June 2019 When these south-westerly trades pick up in late spring—wind speeds in the Arabian Sea can double over a few weeks—the rains are on their way to Thiruvananthapuram. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 Often as the ambulance speeds towards the location of the emergency, Clark stays in contact with the EMTs, giving them regular updates. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "When a 911 dispatcher walks a wife through a life-and-death moment," 25 June 2019

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 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

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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Statistics for speed

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for speed

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on speed

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with speed

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for speed

Spanish Central: Translation of speed

Nglish: Translation of speed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of speed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about speed

Comments on speed

What made you want to look up speed? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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