Meaning of SPEED in English

I. ˈspēd noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English spede, from Old English spēd; akin to Old High German spuot prosperity, success, speed, spāti late, Gothic spediza latecomer, Latin spes hope, spatium space, Lithuanian spėtas leisure, Sanskrit sphāra extensive, sphāyati it increases, grows fat; basic meaning: to increase, expand


a. archaic : good fortune : favorable issue : success

b. archaic : something that falls to one's lot : fortune

send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master — Gen 24:12 (Authorized Version)

c. obsolete : one that furthers success or provides favorable conditions

now Hercules be thy speed , young man — Shakespeare


a. : the act, action, or state of moving swiftly : celerity , dispatch , swiftness

this is the day of speed , of the atom, of wanting to get to places before you start — W.J.MacQueen-Pope

the animal escaped pursuit by speed rather than cunning

b. : rate of motion

a heavy person who moved at a glacial speed

drove at a reckless speed

specifically : rate of motion irrespective of direction : the magnitude of velocity expressed as a particular relationship

the car maintained a speed of 150 miles per hour

a record made to be played at a speed of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute

c. : capacity or power of motion

put all his speed into the attempt to reach the ball before it hit the ground

d. : momentum

set in motion an economic revival that gathered speed with the hastening sense of crisis — Oscar Handlin


a. : swiftness of performance or execution : quickness

as the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed , I resolved … to make the being of a gigantic stature — Mary W. Shelley

a pastel sketch of flowers, full of life and speed — Adrian Bell

b. : rate of performance or action

trying to increase his reading speed


a. : the sensitivity of a photographic film, plate, or paper that is often expressed numerically according to one of several systems

b. : the light gathering power of a lens or optical system expressed as relative aperture

c. : the time during which a camera shutter is open

5. : a transmission gear in automotive vehicles

shift to low speed


a. : character or level of performance or activity

they need a new night watchman at the dam; that's about your speed — Elmer Davis

b. : a person or thing suited to one's tastes : cup of tea

bottled beer and a cigar are about their speed — A.J.Liebling

7. of a baseball pitcher : ability to throw a fast ball

has a good curve, but no speed

Synonyms: see haste

- at speed

II. verb

( sped ˈsped ; or speeded ; sped or speeded ; speeding ; speeds )

Etymology: Middle English speden, from Old English spēdan; akin to Middle Dutch spoeden to speed, Old Saxon spōdian to prosper, Old High German spuoten to prosper, succeed; derivative from the root of English speed (I)

intransitive verb


a. : to experience good fortune : fare well : prosper

regarding the quality of the sheep the shepherds led, asking if the rams speeded — George Moore

b. : to get along : fare , succeed

a forlorn hope at the best … I should like to know how you speed — Charles Dickens


a. : to go or pass quickly

the work sped on at a commendable rate until completed — I.M.Price

his college years sped by — Alexander MacDonald

b. : to move with speed : make haste

ordered an automobile and sped directly to the village — H.F.Wilkins

fighter planes which speed to intercept and identify — Lamp

c. : to go or drive at an excessive speed

was speeding on the icy highway and the car skidded

specifically : to drive at an illegal speed : exceed the speed limit

speeded for a while but slowed down when he saw a police car

3. : to move, work, or take place at a faster rate — usually used with up

the heart speeds up and the blood pressure rises — H.G.Armstrong

her embezzlements were speeding up — R.T.Moriarty

transitive verb


a. archaic : to cause or help to prosper : aid

the Saxon bade God speed him — Sir Walter Scott

b. : to promote the development or success of : advance , further

two other things happened that sped the process — J.S.Martin

increasing the supply of banknotes and speeding the inflationary trend — R.A.Billington

c. archaic : to bring to a state of satisfaction or sufficiency : satisfy


a. : to cause to move quickly : hasten

sped our craft forward — Nora Waln

he sped his pen to complete his treatises on government — U.B.Phillips

a camaraderie which sped the evening hours away all too quickly — Gwen Allmon


(1) : to expedite the departure of : aid in going or traveling

some villager's departing soul was being ritually sped on its difficult road from earth to paradise — Arthur Grimble

cops obligingly scattering traffic to speed us on our way — Bennett Cerf

(2) : to say good-bye to

speed the parting guest

c. : to increase the rate of motion or operation of : accelerate — usually used with up

speeded up the engine

speeded up production

3. : to send out (as to a target) : direct , discharge

sped arrows from their heavy war bows — F.V.W.Mason

these short essays … sped with so intense a seriousness — Edmund Wilson


a. archaic : to bring to completion : finish

b. archaic : destroy , kill

5. : to set, adjust, or design to or for a definite speed


accelerate , quicken , hasten , hurry , precipitate : speed , although usually throwing stress upon the rapidity of motion or progress

bullets sped only a few feet over the Americans' heads — Dave Richardson

poised to speed down the runway — Richard Thruelsen

is also generally used to emphasize the becoming rapid or the achievement of such rapidity as by acceleration or increasing efficiency

his heart speeded a little as he neared the cluster of tents — L.C.Douglas

linked with fourteen miles of highway connections, it speeds traffic by shunting through-vehicles away from congested areas and carrying them swiftly across the boroughs — American Guide Series: New York City

accelerate emphasizes an increase in rate of motion or progress, not necessarily implying rapidity

accelerate your pace

efforts to accelerate our technological progress — H.H.Curtice

the development of the steamboat accelerated the stream of farm products flowing toward the South — American Guide Series: Ind.

quicken often adds to the idea of an increase in rapidity the notion of an increase in animation in the action, often also throwing stress upon the shortening of time consumed

how our steps quickened when we heard the exhilarating notes of the trumpets and drums — G.E.Fox

the pace of discovery in geology has been quickened by applying the principles and techniques of modern physics — Scientific American Reader

hasten may add the notion of urgency or of an earlier or sometimes premature outcome

assembled a force of volunteers and … hastened to the relief of the village — American Guide Series: Minnesota

as rapidly as physics and electronics are hastening the future — Time

hurry sometimes suggests the notion of a disturbing acceleration of pace and a consequent disorder in the activity or progress

hurry home after dark

events which were hurrying the war to the close — H.E.Scudder

the need for responsive action hurries us along and prevents us from ever realising fully what the emotion is that we feel — Roger Fry

precipitate implies usually an unexpectedly sudden or abrupt motion or progress

at that instant two animals precipitated against his calves, thereby nearly unbalancing him — John Buchan

one of the bitter disputes was precipitated by the question of women's suffrage — American Guide Series: Tennessee

the false charges that the radicals had maliciously precipitated the strike — Oscar Handlin

III. adjective

Etymology: speed (I)

: of or relating to speed : regulating, indicating, or attaining speed

IV. noun

: methamphetamine ; also : a related stimulant drug and especially an amphetamine

- up to speed

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.