\ 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 Get rid of so many federal far left anti development laws, push for stronger state rights over land and resources, get gas flowing to full speed, secure our borders. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Tom Cruise has quenched Quentin Tarantino's need for speed! Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 5 Aug. 2022 The need for speed might be diminishing on its own as some people exit cryptocurrency. Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2022 The only constant about the crypto markets over the past few weeks is the speed at which things seem to be getting worse. Matt Van Buskirk, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 During practice at Miami’s training camp, Igbinoghene gets to match is speed and ability against two of the NFL’s fastest receivers in Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 31 July 2022 Pierce is going to have plenty of time to get up to speed; star receiver Michael Pittman Jr. also got off to something of a slow start in his first training camp with the Colts, then ended up playing a significant role as a rookie. The Indianapolis Star, 28 July 2022 There’s the taste of salt and the thirst for speed. Outside Online, 28 July 2022 Why Oscar Tshiebwe thinks Jacob Toppin has been the Wildcats' best player this summer Onyenso's speed, however, is what takes his game to the next level, especially considering his propensity to wreak havoc on the defensive end. The Courier-Journal, 21 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Still, the Reds hope their deadline moves can help speed up their rebuild. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 28 July 2022 Pharmacists had been pushing for this authority to help speed up access to the drug. Madeline Halpert, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Crickets help speed the decay of organic matter like dead animals, insects and leaves. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2022 Typically, federal border officials separate the migrants into categories to help speed up the hours of processing ahead. New York Times, 10 June 2022 Typically, federal border officials separate the migrants into categories to help speed up the hours of processing ahead. Eileen Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2022 Signs and symptoms can vary and, according to the Mayo Clinic, there is no cure, though treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 27 May 2022 Social services in different cities employed photographers to help speed up the process. CNN, 18 May 2022 The Food and Drug Administration and Abbott Laboratories reached an agreement Monday aiming to help speed up the reopening of the company's shuttered baby formula plant. Harold Maass, The Week, 17 May 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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The first known use of speed was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Speed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speed. Accessed 15 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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