ve·​loc·​i·​ty | \və-ˈlä-sə-tē, -ˈlä-stē\
plural velocities

Definition of velocity 

1a : quickness of motion : speed the velocity of sound

b : rapidity of movement [my horse's] strong suit is grace & personal comeliness, rather than velocity— Mark Twain

c : speed imparted to something the power pitcher relies on velocity— Tony Scherman

2 : the rate of change of position along a straight line with respect to time : the derivative of position with respect to time

3a : rate of occurrence or action : rapidity the velocity of historical change— R. J. Lifton

b : rate of turnover the velocity of money

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of velocity in a Sentence

particles moving at high velocities measuring the velocity of sound the velocity of a bullet
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Translation: High-velocity air shoots out of the slots in the tool's barrel, drying your hair and creating a bouncy curl at the same time. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Is Dyson's New Airwrap Styler Really Worth $500? We Put It to the Test," 15 Oct. 2018 Musk said the goal was to start major tests of the spaceship portion of the BFR as early as 2019, with high-velocity flights of the rocket booster in 2020. Loren Grush, The Verge, "The easiest way for Elon Musk to raise money for SpaceX might be tourism," 18 Sep. 2018 This current generation of APS is very effective against lower-velocity explosive rounds fired by enemy aircraft and ground forces. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "'Force field' technology could make US tanks unstoppable," 3 Aug. 2018 Hughes, in his eighth year in the big leagues, has never been a high-velocity pitcher. Bobby Nightengale,, "Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jared Hughes says sprinting from bullpen helped save his career," 7 July 2018 This week’s success — the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron — already seemed like a distant memory in the high-velocity frenzy of Trump’s rule in Washington. Liz Goodwin,, "Trump’s agenda bogs down in swirl of scandals and misfires," 27 Apr. 2018 Almost immediately after the tragedy, a number of survivors leapt headfirst into the Second Amendment debate, noting the shooter’s easy access to a high-velocity assault rifle as one of the main reasons for so many deaths., "Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Natalie Portman & More Show Up To Support March For Our Lives," 24 Mar. 2018 In frisky cumbias and high-velocity polkas with very brief swerves into rock riffing or rapped vocals, the band sang about food, love, drinking and dancing — especially food. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "South by Southwest Music Festival: 17 Acts That Stood Out," 18 Mar. 2018 So this sort of the openness to attack ... ... and the velocity of it and the scale of it sometimes. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey talked to NYU’s Jay Rosen for an hour, on the record. Read and listen to the full interview here.," 14 Sep. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of velocity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for velocity

Middle English velocite, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French veloceté, borrowed from Latin vēlōcitāt-, vēlōcitās, from vēlōc-, vēlōx "swift, rapid" (of uncertain origin) + -itāt-, -itās -ity

Note: If going back to earlier *ueg-s-l-o-, perhaps a derivative from the base of vegēre "to give vigor to, enliven" (see vegetate) or vehere "to convey" (Indo-European *u̯eǵh-; see vehicle), assimilated to the -ōk- of ātrōx, ferōx (see atrocious, ferocious). Alternatively, a derivative *uē-lo-, from the Indo-European base *h2u̯eh1- "blow" (hence, "windlike"; see wind entry 1) has been suggested.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about velocity

Statistics for velocity

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for velocity

The first known use of velocity was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for velocity



English Language Learners Definition of velocity

: quickness of motion


ve·​loc·​i·​ty | \və-ˈlä-sə-tē \
plural velocities

Kids Definition of velocity

: quickness of motion : speed

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on velocity

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


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!