General English

  • adjective done very quickly or happening very quickly

General Science

  • adjective acting, moving or changing quickly


  • adjective fast, with great speed


  • adjective clever, stylish, attractive. In 2000 the term was defined as ‘dead cool, as used by Ronan and Shane from Boyzone’. In Leicester in 2004 the same word was being used as an all-purpose term of appreciation.

Origin & History of “rapid”

like rape and rapture, rapid comes ultimately from Latin rapere ‘seize by force’. From this was derived the adjective rapidus, which originally denoted ‘carrying off by force’. The notion of ‘swiftness’ soon became incorporated into the meaning, however, and although the Latin adjective retained its original connotations of violence (it suggested ‘impetuous speed’ or ‘haste’), by the time it reached English it had simply become synonymous with ‘quick’.