L. sperare "to hope," O.C.S. spechu "endeavor," Lith. speju "to have leisure"). Meaning "quickness of motion or progress" emerged in late O.E. (usually adverbially, in dative plural, e.g. spedum feran), emerging fully in early M.E. Meaning "gear of a machine" is attested from 1866. Meaning "methamphetamine, or a related drug," first attested 1967, from its effect on users. Speeder "one who drives fast" is recorded from 1891. Speedometer is from 1904, a hybrid coined with Gk. -metron.
"[T]he ancient Greeks & Romans knew what speed was, & yet no-one supposes they called it speed, whence it follows that speedo- & speedometer are barbarisms." [Fowler]
Speed bump is 1975; figurative sense is 1990s. Full speed is recorded from 1382. Speed reading first attested 1965. Speedball "mix of cocaine and morphine or heroin" is recorded from 1909.
O.E. 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 1569; that of "to increase the work rate of" (usually with up) is from 1856.