Definition of speed noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//spiːd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spiːd//
    Cycling, Addiction
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    rate of movement/action
  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] the rate at which somebody/something moves or travels He reduced speed and turned sharp left. The train began to pick up speed (= go faster). The car was gathering speed. a speed of 50 mph/80 kph at high/low/full/top speed at breakneck speed (= fast in a way that is dangerous) travelling at the speed of light/sound There are speed restrictions on this road. Increasing your walking speed will help to exercise your heart. see also airspeed, ground speed
  2. 2  [countable, uncountable] the rate at which something happens or is done the processing speed of the computer This course is designed so that students can progress at their own speed. We aim to increase the speed of delivery (= how quickly goods are sent).
  3. 3  [uncountable] the quality of being quick or rapid The accident was due to excessive speed. Speed is his greatest asset as a tennis player. She was overtaken by the speed of events (= things happened more quickly than she expected). (formal) A car flashed past them at speed (= fast).
  4. in photography
  5. 4[countable] a measurement of how sensitive film for cameras, etc. is to light
  6. 5[countable] the time taken by a camera shutter to open and close shutter speeds
  7. on bicycle/car
  8. 6[countable] (especially in compounds) a gear on a bicycle, in a car, etc. a four-speed gearbox a ten-speed mountain bike Wordfinderback-pedal, cycling, dismount, handlebar, pedal, ride, saddle, speed, tandem, velodrome See related entries: Cycling
  9. drug
  10. 7 [uncountable] (informal) an illegal amphetamine drug that is taken to give feelings of excitement and energy See related entries: Addiction
  11. Word OriginOld English spēd (noun), spēdan (verb), from the Germanic base of Old English spōwan ‘prosper, succeed’, a sense reflected in early usage.Extra examples 90% of car accidents involve excess speed. Business is moving at warp speed. Concorde crossed the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound. For a small car it has a good turn of speed. He drove us to the hospital at breakneck speed. He set a new land speed record in this car. He was running at full speed when a tendon snapped in his leg. He was traveling at a high rate of speed. Hedgehogs, though small, can move with surprising speed. Motorists are asked to reduce their speed in wet conditions. Radio waves travel at the speed of light. The Greek runner produced an electrifying burst of speed over the last 50 metres. The Kenyan runner put on a sudden burst of speed over the last 50 yards. The boat can be brought to a stop from full speed ahead within her own length. The boat maintained a steady speed while the sea was calm. The camera will choose a fast shutter speed. The car reaches a speed of 60 miles per hour within five seconds. The car was moving at speed when the accident happened. The glacier moves at an average speed of about six feet per day. The machinery is regulated to a safe running speed. The new houses have been built with astonishing speed. The ships have a maximum speed of 18 knots. The train pulled out of the station, slowly gathering speed. We offer subscribers a download speed of 8 MB. a significant increase in speed at lightning speed jets flying at supersonic speed measures to curb the speed of cars travelling through the village the increase in processor speeds for home computers He came down the hill at breakneck speed. She reduced speed before turning the corner. She was overtaken by the speed of events. The car flashed past them at speed. The classes are designed to let students progress at their own speed. The train began to pick up speed. We aim to increase the speed of delivery. We travelled at an average speed of about 80 kph. at full/​top speedIdioms with as much speed or energy as possible (British English, saying) you will finish doing something sooner if you do not try to do it too quickly because you will make fewer mistakes a sudden increase in your speed or rate of progress; the ability to suddenly increase your speed He put on an impressive turn of speed in the last lap. The kangaroo has a fast turn of speed.
      up to speed (on something)
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    1. 1(of a person, company, etc.) performing at an expected rate or level the cost of bringing the chosen schools up to speed
    2. 2(of a person) having the most recent and accurate information or knowledge Are you up to speed yet on the latest developments?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: speed