\ 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 sped (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 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

To get up to speed, check out King's recent articles: Spaces are limited and will be given away in pairs in a raffle that is available only to active San Francisco Chronicle members. SFChronicle.com, "Exclusive SoMa Architecture Walking Tour with John King," 30 Aug. 2019 The chance for tropical-force winds, which means speeds of at least 39 miles per hour, has increased to 85-95 percent for Palm Beach County, 80-95 percent for Broward and 75-90 percent for Miami-Dade. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian track still aimed at South Florida, and projected Category 4 strength could bring massive storm surge," 30 Aug. 2019 The shorter incline allows large vehicles to maintain a consistent speed, reducing congestion. New York Times, "The City’s Most Hated Bridge Gets a Nearly $1 Billion Makeover," 29 Aug. 2019 Intersections were given level-of-service grades ranging from A to F to qualitatively describe their performance considering factors like vehicle speed, density and congestion. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Target store has increased traffic in La Cañada’s Town Center, study finds," 28 Aug. 2019 The lightning speed of sales, the shortage of homes on the market and the elevated prices for available stock are all being driven by those who already call the Washington region home, real estate agents say. Washington Post, "Area residents, not Amazon newcomers, are fueling Northern Virginia real estate frenzy, agents say," 28 Aug. 2019 Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth. Bibby Gignilliat, The Mercury News, "Quick Cook: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting," 27 Aug. 2019 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, using the lowest speed, combine brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Dallas News, "5 easy recipes for blondies that include lots of browned butter, nuts and liqueurs," 27 Aug. 2019 The lightning speed of sales, the shortage of homes on the market, the elevated prices for available stock, are all being driven by those who already call the Washington region home, real estate agents say. Patricia Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Area residents, not Amazon newcomers, are fueling Northern Virginia real estate frenzy agents say," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jennifer McPherson, 37, still owes $266 on a 2015 speeding ticket, court records show. Josh Verges, Twin Cities, "St. Paul school board candidate ineligible due to felony drug charges, records show," 6 Sep. 2019 Negotiations between drug manufacturers and distributors have been ongoing for more than a year, though the news of Mallinckrodt’s agreement is another sign that talks have sped up in recent weeks. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Generic opioid maker Mallinckrodt agrees to $30 million settlement with Cuyahoga, Summit counties," 6 Sep. 2019 Another shared a gif of a kid speeding off in a toy car and someone else tweeted a gif of a car dodging in and out of traffic to get away just like Abby basically did to avoid talking about Studio 19. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "Abby Lee Miller Left the 'Dance Moms' Reunion, and No One Was Surprised," 4 Sep. 2019 But special awards, retirements and merger and acquisitions can cause that rhythm to speed up in a big way. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Median pay for Colorado executive rises in 2018, despite down year for most investors," 11 Aug. 2019 Sea-level rise is happening at a rate of about 3.5 millimeters per year, and research suggests the process is speeding up, in part because of increasing ice loss in Greenland. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Historic Greenland Melt Is a “Glimpse of the Future”," 2 Aug. 2019 Ludim De Leon, 24, of the 4800 block of Shakespeare Street, Chicago, was charged with speeding 90 mph in a 30 mph zone July 31 on the 4200 block of Harlem Avenue. Deborah Kadin, chicagotribune.com, "Norridge police blotter: Driver falls asleep, strikes light pole on Cumberland," 1 Aug. 2019 According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 19,540 crashes, 8,250 injuries and 186 deaths in Wisconsin were attributed to speeding in 2016 and more than 5,000 crashes were attributed to drunk driving the year before. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As Milwaukee seeks solutions for reckless driving, some blame low police budget while others seek alternatives to police," 8 July 2019 Local regulations for dockless scooters and bicycles went into effect today, limiting parking and speeds in certain areas around the city of San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego’s dockless scooter regulations take effect," 1 July 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 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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Statistics for speed

Last Updated

17 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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