Definition of rapid in English:



  • 1Happening in a short time or at a great rate.

    ‘the country's rapid economic decline’
    ‘they lost three wickets in rapid succession’
    • ‘The combination of a steep drop in interest rates and the rapid rise in household debt has fuelled a surge in lending.’
    • ‘Therefore, even with low interest rates, a rapid recovery is hard to imagine.’
    • ‘At the same time, the net worth of the wealthiest families has grown at a rapid rate.’
    • ‘On the other hand, we only had four or five years of really rapid economic growth.’
    • ‘My forecast is for that number to continue to grow to at a rapid rate across the coming years.’
    • ‘In rapid succession he won Auldearn, Alford, and Kilsyth, and occupied Edinburgh.’
    • ‘What the billions of people who live in the world's poorer countries need is rapid economic growth.’
    • ‘In 406 the army in Britain elevated the first in a rapid succession of three emperors.’
    • ‘In rapid succession, there were four constitutional amendments to try to plug these holes.’
    • ‘Gun collecting has really taken off in the last few years and prices are moving up at a rapid rate.’
    • ‘Within ten years the economy was booming and it entered the age of very rapid economic growth.’
    • ‘On both sides of the Atlantic each culture is in rapid decline and his first priority was to ensure he had recordings of each form of worship.’
    • ‘The rate of industrial growth was very rapid, and the rate of growth of heavy industry remarkable.’
    • ‘The company had an excellent staff retention rate, but rapid expansion came at a price.’
    • ‘The economic story of the year has been the rapid and alarming decline of the global economy.’
    • ‘The surprisingly rapid economic slowdown undermined the performance of companies across all sectors.’
    • ‘We can no longer use the past to try and predict the future because change occurs at such a rapid rate.’
    • ‘The French death rate was falling, but so too was its birth rate, at an unusually rapid rate.’
    • ‘With the rapid fall in interest rates the desire to purchase an annuity diminished.’
    • ‘And as the price climbed, it has had two key effects, not dissimilar to a rapid rise in interest rates.’
    quick, fast, swift, speedy, high-speed, expeditious, express, brisk, lively, prompt, flying, fleeting, lightning, meteoric, overnight, whirlwind, fast-track, whistle-stop
    sudden, instantaneous, immediate, instant, hurried, hasty, abrupt, sharp, precipitate, breakneck, headlong
    alacritous, volant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of an action) characterized by great speed.
      ‘they made a rapid exit’
      • ‘She looked up at the horizon and frowned when she saw a dark cloud heading their way at rapid speed.’
      • ‘The coffin was borne in by pall-bearers, marching to a rapid, but light step.’
      • ‘His ugly face split into a malicious grin and he bore down upon her with rapid speed.’
      • ‘Jackson shouted to photographers before making a rapid exit with the children and a woman via the back door of the mall.’
      • ‘As the name indicates, the eyes of the sleeper move back and forth at rapid speed during their sleep.’
      • ‘Unencumbered we could make a rapid exit to our wonderful little world of sun and cheap wine.’
      • ‘Billy Whizz, named for the rapid speed at which he could move, escaped on July 16 last year.’
      • ‘Her staff began to spin at such a rapid pace that it began to light up with blue fire.’


  • A fast-flowing and turbulent part of the course of a river.

    ‘those of you looking for adventure can shoot the rapids’
    • ‘Of course, few things beat the thrill of taking a craft out on the white water and shooting the rapids.’
    • ‘They got out, scrambled up the ridge for a better look, and saw rapids but no falls that looked too large to navigate.’
    • ‘Then we saw iron rings in the rock, through which river steamer crews ran ropes to help them across the rapids.’
    • ‘It is called the Fall Line because as streams flow across it they sometimes form waterfalls or rapids.’
    • ‘The captain turned the ship to the starboard side, bracing the crew for the rapids and falls ahead.’
    • ‘Water splashed into my mouth as the wild river rapids threw me this way and that.’
    • ‘We could not see the other side and we had no boats that could brave the river rapids.’
    • ‘Dealing with white water rapids is another matter altogether and something best left to the experts.’
    • ‘These predators are excluded from upstream tributaries by rapids and barrier waterfalls.’
    • ‘There are river rapids along this trail with jumping fish and diving otters.’
    • ‘There were places where the seawater actually boiled, like river rapids.’
    • ‘It was mostly a flatwater river, she reported, with the rapids concentrated in the first few days.’
    • ‘Guides lead the party down river to negotiate the rapids and climb the rocks that block the way.’
    • ‘The Lao-Nong River has some challenging rapids that will put Ironman contestants to the test next week.’
    • ‘Gill nets are not only stretched across the river but are also between rocky out crops where rapids exist in the river.’
    • ‘Mountain enthusiasts can choose to feel the chill of high-altitude lakes or brave the rapids of the unspoilt river.’
    • ‘But for a decade now his work has explored bodies of water: swelling seas, river rapids and estuaries.’
    • ‘Their hopes were soon dashed by the many waterfalls and rapids encountered on their journey upstream from Saigon.’
    • ‘There was a large river with rapids in front where you could see women doing their washing along the river.’
    • ‘As the river turned into rapids, the princess grabbed her companion and hauled her back on board.’
    waterfall, falls, water chute, cataract, rapids, torrent, flood, deluge, outpouring, white water, fountain, shower, avalanche
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Latin rapidus, from rapere take by force.