- 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.
verb (used with object), sped or speed·ed, speed·ing.
verb (used without object), sped or speed·ed, speed·ing.
- speed brake,
- speed bump,
- speed camera,
- speed chess,
- speed dating
- 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.
- 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.
Origin of speed
- a gear ratio in a motor vehicle, bicycle, etc
- (in combination)a three-speed gear
- operating at an acceptable or competitive level
- in possession of all the relevant or necessary information
verb speeds, speeding, sped or speeded
- (intr) to prosper or succeed
- (tr) to wish success to
Word Origin for speed
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.
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.
In addition to the idiom beginning with speed
- speed up
- full speed ahead
- up to par (speed)