at top speed


rapidity in moving, going, traveling, proceeding, or performing; swiftness; celerity: the speed of light; the speed of sound.
relative rapidity in moving, going, etc.; rate of motion or progress: full speed ahead.
full, maximum, or optimum rate of motion: The car gets to speed in just nine seconds.
Automotive. a transmission gear ratio.
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.
Also called shutter speed. the length of time a shutter is opened to expose film.
the largest opening at which a lens can be used.
Slang. a stimulating drug, as caffeine, ephedrine, or especially methamphetamine or amphetamine.
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.
Archaic. success or prosperity.
verb (used with object), sped or speeded, speeding.
to promote the success of (an affair, undertaking, etc.); further, forward, or expedite.
to direct (the steps, course, way, etc.) with speed.
to increase the rate of speed of (usually followed by up ): to speed up industrial production.
to bring to a particular speed, as a machine.
to cause to move, go, or proceed with speed.
to expedite the going of: to speed the parting guest.
Archaic. to cause to succeed or prosper.
verb (used without object), sped or speeded, speeding.
to move, go, pass, or proceed with speed or rapidity.
to drive a vehicle at a rate that exceeds the legally established maximum: He was arrested for speeding.
to increase the rate of speed or progress (usually followed by up ).
to get on or fare in a specified or particular manner.
Archaic. to succeed or prosper.
at full / top speed,
at the greatest speed possible: We drove down the highway at full speed.
to the maximum of one's capabilities; with great rapidity: He worked at full speed.
up to speed,
operating at full or optimum speed.
functioning or producing at an expected, acceptable, or competitive level; up to par: a new firm not yet up to speed.

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

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.

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.

1. slowness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To at top speed
World English Dictionary
speed (spiːd)
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.  a.  a gear ratio in a motor vehicle, bicycle, etc
 b.  (in combination): a three-speed gear
6.  photog See also ISO rating a numerical expression of the sensitivity to light of a particular type of film, paper, or plate
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
 a.  operating at an acceptable or competitive level
 b.  in possession of all the relevant or necessary information
vb , speeds, speeding, sped, speeded
12.  to move or go or cause to move or go quickly
13.  (intr) to drive (a motor vehicle) at a high speed, esp above legal limits
14.  (tr) to help further the success or completion of
15.  slang (intr) to take or be under the influence of amphetamines
16.  (intr) to operate or run at a high speed
17.  archaic
 a.  (intr) to prosper or succeed
 b.  (tr) to wish success to
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sped "success, prosperity, advancement," from P.Gmc. *spodiz (cf. O.S. spod "success," Du. spoed "haste, speed," O.H.G. spuot "success," O.S. spodian "to cause to succeed," M.Du. spoeden, O.H.G. spuoten "to haste"), from PIE *spo-ti- "speed," from *spe- "to thrive, prosper" (cf. Skt. sphayate "increases,"
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
speed   (spēd)  Pronunciation Key 
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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