Old English spedan (intransitive) "to succeed, prosper, grow rich, advance," from the stem of speed (n.). Compare Old Saxon spodian, Middle Dutch spoeden "hasten," Old High German spuoton "to succeed, prosper," German sputen "make haste, hurry." Meaning "to go hastily from place to place, move rapidly" is attested from c. 1200. Transitive meaning "cause to advance toward success" is from mid-13c.; that of "send forth with quickness, give a high speed to" is first recorded 1560s; that of "to increase the work rate of" (usually with up) is from 1856. Meaning "drive an automobile too fast" is from 1908. Related: Speeded; sped; speeding.