rap·​id | \ ˈra-pəd How to pronounce rapid (audio) \

Definition of rapid

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by a fast rate of motion, activity, succession, or occurrence



Definition of rapid (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part of a river where the current is fast and the surface is usually broken by obstructions usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

Other Words from rapid


rapidly adverb
rapidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for rapid


fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity. fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves fast horses and rapid to the movement itself. rapid current swift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement. returned the ball with one swift stroke fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness. fleet runners quick suggests promptness and the taking of little time. a quick wit speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment speedy delivery of mail and may also suggest unusual velocity. hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness. a hasty inspection expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment. the expeditious handling of an order

Examples of rapid in a Sentence

Adjective There's been rapid growth in the number of new businesses in the town. Scientists are concerned about the rapid disappearance of the island's coral reefs. She carefully guided the boat through the rapid water.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Central bankers have raised borrowing costs three-quarters of a percentage point at each of their last two meetings, an unusually rapid pace. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 This is vital because technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that almost all jobs will change to some degree. Bernard Marr, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Fanned by erratic winds, the China2 Fire ignited Friday, the same day as the McKinney Fire, and has been more of a slow burn compared the rapid pace of the larger blaze, according to Cal Fire's latest incident reports. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 2 Aug. 2022 The rapid pace of the Fed’s hikes, alongside recession fears, has boosted the value of the dollar against the euro and other currencies. Nate Dicamillo, Quartz, 18 July 2022 The Los Angeles Times reports health officials say the mandate seems likely, barring a rapid turnaround in conditions. Chris Morris, Fortune, 15 July 2022 And the cost of decorating homes is still increasing at a rapid pace — furniture prices are up 13% from a year ago — even as retailers such as Walmart and Target experience rising inventories, which should help lower prices. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 13 July 2022 The rapid pace means that the source of the burst almost certainly has to be near the surface of the magnetar. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 13 July 2022 Bullard's optimism coincides with a rapid pace of interest rate increases by the Fed, intended to combat the highest U.S. inflation in 40 years. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 11 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This becomes clear about 45 minutes after scouting Warm Springs, when one of the guides gets caught in a hole toward the end of the rapid. Rachel Walker, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2022 Shawn is a very experienced rafter, but thanks to this chain of events, he and my seven-year-old daughter, Hollis, were suddenly headed toward a Class IV rapid called Velvet Falls, an infamous bottomless hydraulic that eats swimmers. Tracy Ross, Outside Online, 2 Nov. 2020 There is a definitive need for rapid-acting, effective treatments. Kathleen Frazier, Variety, 20 May 2022 Among the tips: People who have COVID-19 symptoms who test negative on their first rapid, at-home test should take additional tests to double-check the result. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2022 There’s not a single rapid in 100 river miles between Ruby Ranch, through Canyonlands National Park, to the confluence with the Colorado River, making this the most mellow of family flat-water floats. Katie Arnold, Outside Online, 25 July 2014 On one commercial trip, while the rest of the guides and clients portaged the rafts along the bank of a Class VI rapid called Number 9, Coetzee, without telling anyone, ran it in his kayak. Grayson Schaffer, Outside Online, 7 Feb. 2011 Sabine Heller, the chief commercial officer for Sollis, told me that the concierge service has expanded since then, with members now enjoying unlimited rapid, PCR, and antibody testing as well as monoclonal antibody treatments and other services. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, 13 Feb. 2022 No appointments are required for the free rapid and PCR tests. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 22 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of rapid


1634, in the meaning defined above


1765, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rapid


borrowed from French & Latin; French rapide, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin rapidus "(of water) flowing violently enough to sweep anything along in its path, swiftly moving, quick," from rapere "to seize and carry off, carry or sweep along" + -idus, adjective suffix; rapere perhaps going back to pre-Latin *rep-, secondary zero-grade from presumed *erp-, going back to Indo-European *h1rp-, zero-grade of a base *h1rep- "seize, pluck," whence also Lithuanian aprė́piu, aprė́pti "to surround, include," Albanian rjep "removes, robs," Greek ereptómenos "feeding on, devouring"


borrowed from French rapide, noun derivative of rapide, adjective, "swiftly moving, rapid entry 1"

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rapid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapid. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for rapid


rap·​id | \ ˈra-pəd How to pronounce rapid (audio) \

Kids Definition of rapid

: very fast a rapid current rapid progress

Other Words from rapid

rapidly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on rapid

Nglish: Translation of rapid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rapid for Arabic Speakers


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