\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That includes a bladeless design with whisper-quiet operation, three-speed adjustable fan settings, food-grade silicone construction, and USB recharging. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 27 July 2022 Gradually add in remaining ½ cup sugar while beating at high speed, until yolks are thickened and light yellow, at least 2 minutes. Carol Deptolla, Journal Sentinel, 27 July 2022 Over the last three decades, the Fed has nudged its benchmark interest rate up or down by an average of 25 basis points, preferring to steer the economy at low speed. Cnn Business, CNN, 27 July 2022 The brilliant seven-speed dual-clutch automatic—revised by Tremec to deal with the additional power—snaps off shifts with a furious bark from the quad tailpipes. David Beard, Car and Driver, 26 July 2022 Officers tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspect — later identified as Phillip Penneman, 45 — ran red lights and fled at a high speed, according to Trapani. Angela Cordoba Perez, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2022 China’s latest launch of a huge rocket is, once again, raising alarm that the debris will crash into the Earth’s surface in an uncertain location and at great speed. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 The six-speed machine shook a little while making cookie dough. Rennie Dyball, PEOPLE.com, 21 July 2022 The coupé is also equipped with its original 3.5-liter straight-six, which is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 18 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Monday event spotlighted the CHIPS Act, which includes about $52 billion in federal subsidies to speed U.S. semiconductor production, along with tax credits and a grant program. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 26 July 2022 Live Nation's ticket-buying tips include getting online at least 10 minutes before the sale starts to complete these steps: Sign in to your account in advance to speed up your purchase. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 25 July 2022 To speed up a return to a calm state, slow your breathing by counting to four seconds during an inhale and eight seconds for an exhale, and breathe from your belly instead of your chest. Jelena Kecmanovic, CNN, 12 July 2022 To speed up purchases, large institutional investors like Invitation Homes can buy homes with only superficial inspections, which aren’t as thorough as the typical inspection an individual buyer usually needs to secure a bank loan. Kevin Schaul, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 The Biden administration launched Operation Fly Formula in May to speed up the imports from overseas formula producers. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 7 July 2022 Enacting reforms to speed up the provision of veterans benefits and the processing of disability claims is needed from a policy standpoint. Patrick Gleason, Forbes, 5 July 2022 Over the course of the battle, the Ukrainians made desperate pleas to the west to speed up the delivery of heavy weapons as they were vastly outgunned by Russian forces. Marc Santora, BostonGlobe.com, 24 June 2022 In recent weeks the government has imported foreign supplies and used the Defense Production Act to speed domestic production of infant formula. Zeke Miller, Anchorage Daily News, 1 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Speed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speed. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for speed


\ 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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