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What is Speed?

Last updated date: 04th Mar 2024
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Introduction to Speed

We have all heard the term ‘speed’ on different occasions in different contexts and know various definitions of it. But do you know what the meaning of speed really is? Like sometimes our teachers ask us to speed up in writing homework or eating food. What do they actually want us to do? They want us to finish that work early by doing it fastly. This daily vocabulary word “speed” has an individual definition and a meaning itself. All of us have a little idea of what speed may be but let’s learn it in terms of Science!

Definition of Speed

Speed definition can be given as a measurement of the distance covered by an object with respect to the time it takes to cover that distance. In simpler words, it is a measurement of how fast an object moves, but it does not give direction. If we get direction with speed, then it is called “velocity”.

Speed and Velocity

Speed and Velocity

Measurement of Speed

In Science, speed can be calculated. The speed formula is a science-derived formula and is used for calculating various kinds of speed. The speed formula is:


Unit of Speed

Unit of speed is most commonly expressed using the SI unit system. According to that system, speed is measured in metres/second or m/s as the distance is in metres and time in seconds.

Representation of unit: The speed is measured in metres per second (ms-1) and denoted by “s”.

The distance travelled is measured in metres (m) and denoted by d.

“t” is the amount of time spent and measured in seconds (s).

The speed formula consists of three elements: distance, time, and speed. By using this single formula, two more formulas can be derived like this:

Formulas of Speed

Formulas of Speed 

Average Speed

The overall distance travelled by the object in a given time frame is the average speed. Average speed is a scalar quantity. Scalar quantity means it has no direction and is indicated by the magnitude.

Formula for Average Speed

Calculating the total distance travelled by the body to the time taken to cover that distance yields the average speed formula.

Average Speed

Average Speed

The following is the representation of the average speed formula:

$\mathrm {S_{avg}}=\dfrac{\text{Total Distance Covered D}}{\text{Total Time Taken T}}$

Where Savg is for average speed,

D is for total distance covered, and

T is for the total time taken.

Interesting Facts About Speed

  • Galileo was the first scientist to measure speed as a function of distance over time.

  • An instrument to measure immediate speed is a speedometer.

  • 186,282 miles per second is another way to write the speed of light.

  • In dry air, the speed of sound is 343.2 meters per second.


The distance that an object travels in relation to the amount of time it takes to do so can be used to define speed. It is a measurement of how quickly a thing moves, to put it another way. As the distance is in metres and the time is in seconds, speed is expressed in metres per second or m/s. 

The average speed of an object is the total distance it travels in a predetermined amount of time. The average speed is a scalar quantity. The magnitude of a scalar quantity, which has no direction, is used to describe it.

FAQs on What is Speed?

1. What do you understand about the concept of speed and its unit?

The pace at which a distance changes over time is referred to as speed. It has a dimension of time-distance. The speeds at which an object's location changes in any direction. The distance travelled in relation to the time it took to travel that distance is how speed is defined. Since speed simply has a direction and no magnitude, it is a scalar quantity. As a result, the fundamental unit of time and the basic unit of distance are combined to form the SI unit of speed. The SI unit of speed is therefore the metre per second.

2. What are the different types of speed?

There are four different forms of speed.

  • If an object travels the same distance in the same amount of time, it is said to be moving at a uniform speed.

  • When an object travels a different distance at equal intervals of time, it is said to be moving at variable speed.

  • Average speed is the average speed determined by the ratio of the total distance travelled by an object to the entire amount of time it took to travel that distance.

  • The speed of an object at any given moment when it is travelling at a variable speed is referred to as the object's instantaneous speed.

3. What is speed training?

Speed training involves the increase in muscle power through both speed, technical guidance and increased range of motion. As athletes enter each stage of speed training, the exercises and drills become easier with greater explosive force behind each repetition.