warp speed


noun

an extremely rapid rate of speed: rumors traveling at warp speed.

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Origin of warp speed

alluding to the use in science fiction of spatial or temporal warps to travel interstellar distances
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does warp speed mean?

Warp speed is an extremely fast speed.

In science fiction stories, especially in the Star Trek universe, warp speed refers to a hypothetical speed faster than the speed of light that can be achieved by spaceships like the USS Enterprise.

This use became popular enough to enter the language as a general term for a really, really fast speed. It’s typically used in exaggerations about how fast something is moving or how fast an action is performed.

Example: My kids usually drag their feet when I ask them to do their chores, but they start working at warp speed if I promise them pizza.

Where does warp speed come from?

The term warp speed originated in science fiction in the mid-1900s and was popularized by the 1960s television series Star Trek, in which ships like the USS Enterprise achieve warp speed by using a warp engine or warp drive. (By contrast, in the Star Wars universe, some ships, like the Millennium Falcon, are capable of traveling faster than light speed using a hyperdrive.) Warp speed is based on the idea of traveling across vast distances very rapidly by somehow warping space and/or time to go faster than the speed of light. The warp part of the phrase is based on earlier sci-fi concepts like time warps or space warps.

Warp speed is just one of the sci-fi concepts and catch phrases (like set phasers to stun and Beam me up, Scotty) made so popular by Star Trek that they have entered everyday language. Today, warp speed is most often used in humorous exaggerations about the speed with which something is moving or something is being done. It’s often used to mean “the fastest speed possible,” as in We’re going to have to move at warp speed if we have any chance of getting there on time.

What is Operation Warp Speed?

Operation Warp Speed is the name of a U.S. government program launched in May 2020 by the administration of President Donald Trump to create a vaccine for COVID-19. The program also includes plans for other measures intended to contain the spread of the virus in an effort to bring an end to the pandemic.

The program was announced as a partnership between the government and private businesses with the goal of working at “an unprecedented pace” to develop, manufacture, and distribute a vaccine in large quantities by January 2021.

Because the development of vaccines usually takes years, the use of the term warp speed in the name of the program reflects the urgency and speed with which it is hoped that an effective vaccine can be developed.

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What are some synonyms for warp speed?

  • light speed
  • ridiculous speed
  • ludicrous speed

What are some words that share a root or word element with warp speed

What are some words that often get used in discussing warp speed?

How is warp speed used in real life?

In sci-fi, warp speed is closely associated with Star Trek. In everyday conversation, warp speed is typically used in an informal, exaggerated, and humorous way.

Try using warp speed!

True or False?

Moving at warp speed is the same as moving at light speed.

Example sentences from the Web for warp speed