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speed

[speed] /spid/
noun
1.
rapidity in moving, going, traveling, proceeding, or performing; swiftness; celerity:
the speed of light; the speed of sound.
2.
relative rapidity in moving, going, etc.; rate of motion or progress:
full speed ahead.
3.
full, maximum, or optimum rate of motion:
The car gets to speed in just nine seconds.
4.
Automotive. a transmission gear ratio.
5.
Photography.
  1. Also called film speed. the sensitivity of a film or paper to light, measured by an ASA or DIN index, which assigns low numbers to slow film and higher numbers to faster film.
  2. Also called shutter speed. the length of time a shutter is opened to expose film.
  3. the largest opening at which a lens can be used.
6.
Slang. a stimulating drug, as caffeine, ephedrine, or especially methamphetamine or amphetamine.
7.
Informal. a person or thing that is compatible with or typical of one's ability, personality, desires, etc.:
My speed is writing postcards on the porch while everyone else is tearing around the tennis court.
8.
Archaic. success or prosperity.
verb (used with object), sped or speeded, speeding.
9.
to promote the success of (an affair, undertaking, etc.); further, forward, or expedite.
10.
to direct (the steps, course, way, etc.) with speed.
11.
to increase the rate of speed of (usually followed by up):
to speed up industrial production.
12.
to bring to a particular speed, as a machine.
13.
to cause to move, go, or proceed with speed.
14.
to expedite the going of:
to speed the parting guest.
15.
Archaic. to cause to succeed or prosper.
verb (used without object), sped or speeded, speeding.
16.
to move, go, pass, or proceed with speed or rapidity.
17.
to drive a vehicle at a rate that exceeds the legally established maximum:
He was arrested for speeding.
18.
to increase the rate of speed or progress (usually followed by up).
19.
to get on or fare in a specified or particular manner.
20.
Archaic. to succeed or prosper.
Idioms
21.
at full / top speed,
  1. at the greatest speed possible:
    We drove down the highway at full speed.
  2. to the maximum of one's capabilities; with great rapidity:
    He worked at full speed.
22.
up to speed,
  1. operating at full or optimum speed.
  2. functioning or producing at an expected, acceptable, or competitive level; up to par:
    a new firm not yet up to speed.
Origin
900
before 900; 1965-70 for def 6; (noun) Middle English spede good luck, prosperity, rapidity, Old English spēd; cognate with Dutch spoed, Old High German spōt; akin to Old English spōwan to prosper, succeed; (v.) Middle English speden to succeed, prosper, go with speed, Old English spēdan to succeed, prosper; cognate with Old Saxon spōdian, Old High German spuoten
Related forms
speedful, adjective
speedfully, adverb
speedfulness, noun
speedingly, adverb
speedingness, noun
speedless, adjective
multispeed, adjective
outspeed, verb (used with object), outsped or outspeeded, outspeeding.
overspeed, verb, oversped or overspeeded, overspeeding.
Synonyms
1, 2. fleetness, alacrity, dispatch, expedition; hurry. Speed, velocity, quickness, rapidity, celerity, haste refer to swift or energetic movement or operation. Speed (originally prosperity or success) may apply to human or nonhuman activity and emphasizes the rate in time at which something travels or operates: the speed of light, of a lens, of an automobile, of thought. Velocity, a more learned or technical term, is sometimes interchangeable with speed : the velocity of light; it is commonly used to refer to high rates of speed, linear or circular: velocity of a projectile. Quickness, a native word, and rapidity, a synonym of Latin origin, suggest speed of movement or operation on a small or subordinate scale; quickness applies more to people (quickness of mind, of perception, of bodily movement ), rapidity more to things, often in a technical or mechanical context: the rapidity of moving parts; a lens of great rapidity. Celerity, a somewhat literary synonym of Latin origin, refers usually to human movement or operation and emphasizes expedition, dispatch, or economy in an activity: the celerity of his response. Haste refers to the energetic activity of human beings under stress; it often suggests lack of opportunity for care or thought: to marry in haste; a report prepared in haste. 9. advance, favor. 11. accelerate. 16. See rush1 .
Antonyms
1. slowness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for overspeed

speed

/spiːd/
noun
1.
the act or quality of acting or moving fast; rapidity
2.
the rate at which something moves, is done, or acts
3.
(physics) a scalar measure of the rate of movement of a body expressed either as the distance travelled divided by the time taken (average speed) or the rate of change of position with respect to time at a particular point (instantaneous speed). It is measured in metres per second, miles per hour, etc
4.
a rate of rotation, usually expressed in revolutions per unit time
5.
  1. a gear ratio in a motor vehicle, bicycle, etc
  2. (in combination): a three-speed gear
6.
(photog) a numerical expression of the sensitivity to light of a particular type of film, paper, or plate See also ISO rating
7.
(photog) a measure of the ability of a lens to pass light from an object to the image position, determined by the aperture and also the transmitting power of the lens. It increases as the f-number is decreased and vice versa
8.
a slang word for amphetamine
9.
(archaic) prosperity or success
10.
at speed, quickly
11.
up to speed
  1. operating at an acceptable or competitive level
  2. in possession of all the relevant or necessary information
verb speeds, speeding, sped, speeded
12.
to move or go or cause to move or go quickly
13.
(intransitive) to drive (a motor vehicle) at a high speed, esp above legal limits
14.
(transitive) to help further the success or completion of
15.
(intransitive) (slang) to take or be under the influence of amphetamines
16.
(intransitive) to operate or run at a high speed
17.
(archaic)
  1. (intransitive) to prosper or succeed
  2. (transitive) to wish success to
See also speed up
Derived Forms
speeder, noun
Word Origin
Old English spēd (originally in the sense: success); related to spōwan to succeed, Latin spēs hope, Old Slavonic spěti to be lucky
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overspeed

speed

n.

Old English sped "success, prosperity, advancement," from Proto-Germanic *spodiz (cf. Old Saxon spod "success," Dutch spoed "haste, speed," Old High German spuot "success," Old Saxon spodian "to cause to succeed," Middle Dutch spoeden, Old High German spuoten "to haste"), from PIE *spo-ti- "speed," from *spe- "to thrive, prosper" (cf. Sanskrit sphayate "increases," Latin sperare "to hope," Old Church Slavonic spechu "endeavor," Lithuanian speju "to have leisure").

Meaning "quickness of motion or progress" emerged in late Old English (usually adverbially, in dative plural, e.g. spedum feran), emerging fully in early Middle English. Meaning "gear of a machine" is attested from 1866. Meaning "methamphetamine, or a related drug," first attested 1967, from its effect on users. Speed bump is 1975; figurative sense is 1990s. Full speed is recorded from late 14c. Speed reading first attested 1965. Speedball "mix of cocaine and morphine or heroin" is recorded from 1909.

v.

Old English spedan "to succeed, prosper, advance" (see speed (n.)). Meaning "to go fast" is attested from c.1300. Meaning "to send forth with quickness" is first recorded 1560s; that of "to increase the work rate of" (usually with up) is from 1856. Related: Speeded; speeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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overspeed in Science
speed
  (spēd)   
The ratio of the distance traveled by an object (regardless of its direction) to the time required to travel that distance. Compare velocity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for overspeed

speed

noun

An amphetamine, esp Methedrine2 (1960s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

bring someone up to speed


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with overspeed

speed

In addition to the idiom beginning with
speed
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for overspeed

speed

in photography, any of those standards that indicate (1) the size of the lens opening, or aperture, (2) the duration of exposure, and (3) the sensitivity of the film to light.

Learn more about speed with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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