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[rap-id] /ˈræp ɪd/
adjective, sometimes, rapider, rapidest.
occurring within a short time; happening speedily:
rapid growth.
moving or acting with great speed; swift:
a rapid worker.
characterized by speed:
rapid motion.
Usually, rapids. a part of a river where the current runs very swiftly.
Origin of rapid
1625-35; < Latin rapidus tearing away, seizing, swift. See rape1, -id4
Related forms
rapidly, adverb
ultrarapid, adjective
ultrarapidly, adverb
Can be confused
fast, quick, rapid, swift (see synonym study at quick)
2. See quick. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rapid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Harriet's climbing was not so rapid as to make her dizzy; but business was coming.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • A rapid walk soon restored the maidens to their own peaceful homes.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Yet the movement, when it was made, might fairly be described as rapid.

    Hilaire Belloc C. Creighton Mandell
  • We regret that his tours are so rapid, and his journals so brief.

  • It was in quest of this Governor that Yoosoof bent his rapid steps.

    Black Ivory R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for rapid


(of an action or movement) performed or occurring during a short interval of time; quick: a rapid transformation
characterized by high speed: rapid movement
acting or moving quickly; fast: a rapid worker
See also rapids
Derived Forms
rapidly, adverb
rapidity (rəˈpɪdɪtɪ), rapidness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin rapidus tearing away, from rapere to seize; see rape1
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 rapid

1630s, "moving quickly," from French rapide (17c.) and directly from Latin rapidus "hasty, swift, rapid; snatching; fierce, impetuous," from rapere "hurry away, carry off, seize, plunder," from PIE root *rep- "to snatch" (cf. Greek ereptomai "devour," harpazein "snatch away," Lithuanian raples "tongs"). Meaning "happening in a short time" is from 1780. Related: Rapidly; rapidness. Rapid-transit first attested 1852, in reference to street railways; rapid eye movement is from 1906.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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