warp speed

noun

: the highest possible speed
warp-speed adjective

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Warp speed is an example of a phrase that entered the public consciousness through science fiction and eventually gained enough popularity to end up in the dictionary. The expression was popularized on the science-fiction show Star Trek in the 1960s. On the show, warp speed referred to a specific concept, namely the idea of faster-than-light travel. Within a relatively short period of time, Star Trek gained a devoted and intense following. Fans were soon discussing the fictional concepts of the show, including warp speed, with great enthusiasm. Eventually, the term warp speed was adopted by the general population. In the process, however, it lost its specific fictional meaning and came to mean simply "the highest possible speed."

Examples of warp speed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And then the whole attempt to grab some funny answers with rapid-fire questions just nosedives at warp speed. Kevin Dolak, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Feb. 2024 Regrettably, a significant number of corporate cultures, business leaders, and advisors are simply not organized to operate at digital warp speed. Richard Torrenzano, Fortune, 18 Jan. 2024 Regardless of what happens Monday night in Houston, the turnaround on Montlake has unfolded at warp speed and on the knife’s edge: Eight of UW’s victories this season are by a touchdown or less. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 4 Jan. 2024 Somebody hit the warp speed button, judging from the icy wings astronomers have spotted surrounding an approaching comet. Daniel Vergano, Scientific American, 26 July 2023 Eventually, a precision medicine approach may come to exercise therapy as well, and scientists are now putting investigations on that into warp speed, aided by tech including wearables and telehealth. Cori Ritchey, Men's Health, 17 May 2023 It’s constantly being mentioned in Star Trek and Star Wars as the sort of energy that powers their spaceships to go warp speeds. Quartz Staff, Quartz, 3 Mar. 2023 Santa Claus moves at near warp speed on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to kids around the world. Christina Barron, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2022 With the free agent market moving at something resembling warp speed – five of the top 10 free agents and 10 of the top 20 are off the board – the talent pool is thinning, but the ranks of desperate teams are not. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 7 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'warp speed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

from the use in science fiction of space-time warps to allow faster-than-light travel

First Known Use

1977, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of warp speed was in 1977

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near warp speed

Cite this Entry

“Warp speed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warp%20speed. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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