First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Speed mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Speed

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Speed
  1. Prosperity in an undertaking; favorable issue; success."For common speed." [Chaucer.]"O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day." [Gen. xxiv. 12.]
  2. The act or state of moving swiftly; swiftness; velocity; rapidly; rate of motion; dispatch; as, the speed a horse or a vessel." Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails." [Milton.]
  3. One who, or that which, causes or promotes speed or success.(Obs)"Hercules be thy speed!" [Shak.]
    synonyms: Haste; swiftness; celerity; quickness; dispatch; expedition; hurry; acceleration. See Haste.

Note: ☞ In kinematics, speedis sometimes used to denote the amount of velocity without regard to direction of motion, while velocity is not regarded as known unless both the direction and the amount are known.

Etymology: AS. sp�d success, swiftness, from sp�wan to succeed; akin to D. spoedd, OHG. spuot success, spuot to succees, Skr. sphā to increase, grow fat. √170b.

verb Speed
  1. To go; to fare.(Obs)"To warn him now he is too farre sped." [Remedy of Love.]
  2. To experience in going; to have any condition, good or ill; to fare."Ships heretofore in seas like fishes sped; The mightiest still upon the smallest fed." [Waller.]
  3. To fare well; to have success; to prosper."Save London, and send true lawyers their meed! For whoso wants money with them shall not speed!" [Lydgate.]"I told ye then he should prevail, and speed On his bad errand." [Milton.]
  4. To make haste; to move with celerity."I have speeded hither with the very extremest inch of possibility." [Shak.]
  5. To be expedient.(Obs)

Etymology: AS. spēdan, fr. spēd, n.; akin to D. spoeden, G. sich sputen. See Speed (n.)

verb Speed
  1. To cause to be successful, or to prosper; hence, to aid; to favor."Fortune speedus!" [Shak.]"With rising gales that speed their happy flight." [Dryden.]
  2. To cause to make haste; to dispatch with celerity; to drive at full speed; hence, to hasten; to hurry."He sped him thence home to his habitation." [Fairfax.]
  3. To hasten to a conclusion; to expedite."Judicial acts . . . are sped in open court at the instance of one or both of the parties." [Ayliffe.]
  4. To hurry to destruction; to put an end to; to ruin; to undo." Spedwith spavins." [Shak.]"A dire dilemma! either way I 'm sped. If foes, they write, if friends, they read, me dead." [Pope.]
  5. To wish success or god fortune to, in any undertaking, especially in setting out upon a journey."Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest." [Pope.]
    synonyms: To dispatch; hasten; expedite; accelerate; hurry.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Changing location rapidly
  2. A central nervous system stimulant that increases energy and decreases appetite; used to treat narcolepsy and some forms of depression
  3. A rate (usually rapid) at which something happens ("the project advanced with gratifying speed")
  4. The ratio of the focal length to the diameter of a (camera) lens system
  5. Distance travelled per unit time
  6. Move faster
  7. Cause to move faster
  8. Move very fast ("The runner zipped past us at breakneck speed")
  9. Travel at an excessive or illegal velocity ("I got a ticket for speeding")
  10. Move hurridly

From Middle English spede (“prosperity, good luck, quickness, success”), from Old English spēd (“luck, prosperity, success”), from Proto-Germanic *spōdiz (“prosperity, success”), from Proto-Germanic *spōaną (“to prosper, succeed, be happy”), from Proto-Indo-European *speh₁- (“to prosper, turn out well”). Cognate with Scots spede, speid (“success, quickness, speed”), Dutch spoed (“haste; speed”), German Low German Spood (“haste; speed; eagerness; success”), German Sput (“progress, acceleration, haste”). Related also to Old English spōwan (“to be successful, succeed”), Greek σπεύδω, Albanian shpejt (“to speed, to hurry”) and Russian спеши́ть (spešítʹ, “to hurry”), Latin spēs (“hope, expectation”), spērō (“hope”, verb).

  1. The state of moving quickly or the capacity for rapid motion; rapidity.
    How does Usain Bolt run at that ?
  2. The rate of motion or action, specifically (mathematics)/(physics) the magnitude of the velocity; the rate distance is traversed in a given time.
  3. (photography) The sensitivity to light of film, plates or sensor.
  4. (photography) The duration of exposure, the time during which a camera shutter is open.
  5. (photography) The largest size of the lens opening at which a lens can be used.
  6. (photography) The ratio of the focal length to the diameter of a photographic objective.
  7. (slang, uncountable) Amphetamine or any amphetamine-based drug (especially methamphetamine) used as a stimulant, especially illegally.
  8. (archaic) Luck, success, prosperity.
  9. (slang) Personal preference.
    We could go to the shore next week, or somewhere else if that's not your .

From Middle English speden, from Old English spēdan (“to speed, prosper, succeed, have success”), from Proto-Germanic *spōdijaną (“to succeed”). Cognate with Scots spede, speid (“to meet with success, assist, promote, accomplish, speed”), Dutch spoeden (“to hurry, rush”), Low German spoden, spöden (“to hasten, speed”), German sputen, spuden (“to speed”).

    speed was also found in the following language(s): French

    Notable Persons Named Speed

    Speed Weed is a television writer, producer, screenwriting, and television producer. He was most active from 2004 to present.


    Speed is a comics character.


    Speed is also known as The Speed Freak Killer.


    Speed Demon is a comics character.


    Speed Queen is a comics character.


    Speed Smith Fry is a military person.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Speed

    Gary Speed was a soccer player for the Leeds United F.C. Reserves, Youth Team, Leeds United F.C., Everton F.C., Newcastle United F.C., Bolton Wanderers F.C., Sheffield United F.C., Wales national under-21 football team, and Wales national football team. Gary was born on September 8th, 1969 in Mancot, Flintshire, Wales. He passed away on November 27th, 2011.


    Scott Speed is a racing driver for the Andretti Autosport. Scott was born on January 24th, 1983 in Manteca, California, U.S.


    Speed is a comics character.


    Joshua Fry Speed was an office holder. Joshua was born on November 14th, 1814 in Louisville, Kentucky. He left this life on May 29th, 1882.


    John Speed is a scientist in the field of cartography. John was born in Farndon, Cheshire.


    Lucy Speed is an actress. Her ongoing career started in 1983. Lucy was given the name Lucy Renee Speed on August 31st, 1976 in Croydon.


    Where is the name Speed popular?

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    Popularity of Speed as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Speed as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Texas, Mississippi, or Alabama.

    Common last names for Speed

    • Taylor

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Speed U.S.
      White 59.10% 64.26%
      African American 35.16% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.73% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.33% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 2.41% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 2.26% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Speed

    People with the last name Speed are most frequently White or African American

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Speed

    • How Popular is the name Speed? Speed is the 62,694th most popular name of all time. As a last name Speed was the 4,859th most popular name in 2010.
    • How many people with the first name Speed have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 19 babies born with the first name Speed in the United States.
    • What year were 5 or more babies first named Speed? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1890 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
    • When was Speed first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Speed is Sunday, September 24th, 1876.
    • What year had the most people named Speed born? The highest recorded use of the first name Speed was in 1921 with a total of 9 babies.
    • Weird things about the name Speed: Your name in reverse order is Deeps. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Spede. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Speed? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 7,255 people with the last name Speed.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Speed? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 2 of them will have Speed as their last name.

    What Speeds Have Visited This Page?

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.