speed Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun distance travelled per unit time
  2. noun a rate (usually rapid) at which something happens
    swiftness; fastness.
    • the project advanced with gratifying speed
  3. noun changing location rapidly
    hurrying; speeding.
  4. noun the ratio of the focal length to the diameter of a (camera) lens system
    focal ratio; f number; stop number.
  5. noun a central nervous system stimulant that increases energy and decreases appetite; used to treat narcolepsy and some forms of depression
    upper; pep pill; amphetamine.
  6. verb move fast
    rush; bucket along; hotfoot; belt along; cannonball along; race; step on it; hie; hasten; pelt along; rush along.
    • He rushed down the hall to receive his guests
    • The cars raced down the street
  7. verb move faster
    speed up; accelerate; quicken.
    • The car accelerated
  8. verb move very fast
    hurry; travel rapidly; zip.
    • The runner zipped past us at breakneck speed
  9. verb travel at an excessive or illegal velocity
    • I got a ticket for speeding
  10. verb cause to move faster
    speed up; accelerate.
    • He accelerated the car


Speed noun
AS. spd success, swiftness, from spwan to succeed; akin to D. spoedd, OHG. spuot success, spuot to succees, Skr. spha to increase, grow fat. b.
  1. Prosperity in an undertaking; favorable issue; success. "For common speed." Chaucer.
    O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day. Gen. xxiv. 12.
  2. The act or state of moving swiftly; swiftness; velocity; rapidly; rate of motion; dispatch; as, the speed a horse or a vessel.
    Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails. Milton.
    ✍ In kinematics, speedis sometimes used to denote the amount of velocity without regard to direction of motion, while velocity is not regarded as known unless both the direction and the amount are known.
  3. One who, or that which, causes or promotes speed or success. Obs. "Hercules be thy speed!" Shak. Syn. -- Haste; swiftness; celerity; quickness; dispatch; expedition; hurry; acceleration. See Haste.
Speed intransitive verb
AS. spdan, fr. spd, n.; akin to D. spoeden, G. sich sputen. See Speed, n.
imperfect & past participle Sped Speeded; present participle & verbal noun Speeding
  1. To go; to fare. Obs.
    To warn him now he is too farre sped. Remedy of Love.
  2. To experience in going; to have any condition, good or ill; to fare. Shak.
    Ships heretofore in seas lke fishes sped; The mightiest still upon the smallest fed. Waller.
  3. To fare well; to have success; to prosper.
    Save London, and send true lawyers their meed! For whoso wants money with them shall not speed! Lydgate.
    I told ye then he should prevail, and speed On his bad errand. Milton.
  4. To make haste; to move with celerity.
    I have speeded hither with the very extremest inch of possibility. Shak.
  5. To be expedient. Obs. Wyclif (2 Cor. xii. 1.)
Speed transitive verb
  1. To cause to be successful, or to prosper; hence, to aid; to favor. "Fortune speed us!" Shak.
    With rising gales that speed their happy flight. Dryden.
  2. To cause to make haste; to dispatch with celerity; to drive at full speed; hence, to hasten; to hurry.
    He sped him thence home to his habitation. Fairfax.
  3. To hasten to a conclusion; to expedite.
    Judicial acts . . . are sped in open court at the instance of one or both of the parties. Ayliffe.
  4. To hurry to destruction; to put an end to; to ruin; to undo. "Sped with spavins." Shak.
    A dire dilemma! either way I 'm sped. If foes, they write, if friends, they read, me dead. Pope.
  5. To wish success or god fortune to, in any undertaking, especially in setting out upon a journey.
    Welkome the coming, speed the parting guest. Pope.
    Syn. -- To depatch; hasten; expedite; accelerate; hurry.

Webster 1913