Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
January 16th, 2015
Episode 78 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 16, 2015 is: warp speed \WORP-SPEED\ noun : the highest possible speed Examples: When Mario saw Helen enter the elevator, he grabbed his laptop and vaulted down the stairs at warp speed to get to the meeting room ahead of her. "You may have noticed that time, which is fleeting in the best of circumstances, has a way of moving at warp speed when you reach a certain age." Ed Gebhart, Delaware County Daily Times, December 28, 2014 Did you know? Warp speed is an example of a phrase that entered the public consciousness through science fiction and eventually gained enough popularity to end up in the dictionary. The expression was popularized on the science-fiction show Star Trek in the 1960s. On the show, warp speed referred to a specific concept, namely the idea of faster-than-light travel. Within a relatively short period of time, Star Trek gained a devoted and intense following. Fans were soon discussing the fictional concepts of the show, including warp speed, with great enthusiasm. Eventually, the term warp speed was adopted by the general population. In the process, however, it lost its specific fictional meaning and came to mean simply "the highest possible speed."