Language: Old English
Origin: sped 'success, quickness'


1 noun
speed1 W1 S2

of movement

[uncountable and countable] the rate at which something moves or travelsCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
(at) a speed of 60 mph/80 kmph etc at high/low speed(s) at great speed at top/full speed (=as fast as possible) at lightning speed (=very fast) at breakneck speed (=dangerously fast) at the speed of light speed limit/restriction wind speed
The truck was travelling at a speed of 50 mph.
Extreme care is always needed when flying at high speeds.
Beat the mixture for two minutes at low speed.
They drove to the hospital at top speed.
They chased each other through the streets at breakneck speed.
particles that travel at the speed of light
The speed limit in urban areas is usually 30 or 40 mph.
The average wind speed at Stornoway is 14.4 knots.

of action

[uncountable and countable] the rate at which something happens or is done
speed of
the speed of change within the industry
a high-speed computer
At that time, cities were growing at breakneck speed (=very fast).


[uncountable] the quality of being fast:
The women's basketball team has talent, speed, and power.
with speed
She acted with speed and efficiency.
at speed British English
a van travelling at speed
pick up/gather speed (=gradually start to travel faster)
The train began to pick up speed.


a) TCP the degree to which photographic film is sensitive to light
b) TCP the time it takes for a camera shutter to open and close:
a shutter speed of 1/250 second


[uncountable] informalMDD an illegal drug that makes you very active [= amphetamine]

five-speed/ten-speed etc

TTB having five, ten etc gears:
a ten-speed bike

up to speed

having the latest information or knowledge about something:
Some school officials are only now getting up to speed regarding computers.
John will bring you up to speed (=tell you the latest information).

➔ full speed/steam ahead

at full1 (18)

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