/ spiːd; NAmE / noun , verb
RATE OF MOVEMENT / ACTION
[ C , U ] the rate at which sb/sth moves or travels :
He reduced speed and turned sharp left.
The train began to pick up speed (= go faster) .
The car was gathering speed .
a speed of 50 mph / 80 kph
at high / low / full / top speed
at breakneck speed (= fast in a way that is dangerous)
travelling at the speed of light / sound
—see also airspeed , ground speed
[ C , U ] the rate at which sth happens or is done :
the processing speed of the computer
This course is designed so that students can progress at their own speed.
We aim to increase the speed of delivery (= how quickly goods are sent) .
[ U ] the quality of being quick or rapid :
The accident was due to excessive speed.
She was overtaken by the speed of events (= things happened more quickly than she expected) .
( formal )
A car flashed past them at speed (= fast) .
[ C ] a measurement of how sensitive film for cameras, etc. is to light
[ C ] the time taken by a camera shutter to open and close :
ON BICYCLE / CAR
[ C ] (especially in compounds) a gear on a bicycle, in a car, etc. :
a four-speed gearbox
a ten-speed mountain bike
[ U ] ( informal ) an illegal amphetamine drug that is taken to give feelings of excitement and energy
- full speed / steam ahead
- up to speed (on sth)
—more at haste , turn noun
( speed·ed , speed·ed
HELP NOTE : In senses 1 and 2 sped is also used for the past tense and past participle.
MOVE / HAPPEN QUICKLY
[ v + adv. / prep. ] ( formal ) to move along quickly :
He sped away on his bike.
[ vn + adv. / prep. ] ( formal ) to take sb/sth somewhere very quickly, especially in a vehicle :
The cab speeded them into the centre of the city.
[ vn ] ( formal ) to make sth happen more quickly :
The drugs will speed her recovery.
DRIVE TOO FAST
[ v ] (usually used in the progressive tenses) to drive faster than the speed that is legally allowed :
The police caught him speeding.
- speed up | speed sth up
Old English spēd (noun), spēdan (verb), from the Germanic base of Old English spōwan prosper, succeed , a sense reflected in early usage.