adjective, sometimes rap·id·er, rap·id·est.

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

First recorded in 1625–35, rapid is from the Latin word rapidus tearing away, seizing, swift. See rape1, -id4
Related formsrap·id·ly, adverbul·tra·rap·id, adjectiveul·tra·rap·id·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfast quick rapid swift (see synonym study at quick)

Synonyms for rapid

2. See quick.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rapidly

Contemporary Examples of rapidly

Historical Examples of rapidly

  • The country was rapidly becoming, they agreed, no place for a gentleman to live.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Ben Haley meanwhile was rapidly stripping the chicken of its feathers.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Robert soon settled to work, and picked steadily and rapidly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then I noticed that the sun was gone, and the evening cool was rapidly falling.

  • But Angelique's heart now beat so rapidly she could scarcely keep still.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for rapidly



(of an action or movement) performed or occurring during a short interval of time; quicka rapid transformation
characterized by high speedrapid movement
acting or moving quickly; fasta rapid worker
See also rapids
Derived Formsrapidly, adverbrapidity (rəˈpɪdɪtɪ) or rapidness, noun

Word Origin for rapid

C17: from Latin rapidus tearing away, from rapere to seize; see rape 1
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

Word Origin and History for rapidly



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