idioms about speed image

32 Idioms about speed

Idioms about speed

Here is an interesting list of phrasal verbs and idioms about speed with example sentences. Do you dive like a bat out of hell? Have you ever been told to “Get your skates on”? Read on to learn some more of these speed-related expressions.


The expressions about speed are –


  1. Like a bat out of hell
  2. A hasty retreat
  3. In the blink of an eye
  4. Breakneck speed
  5. Burn rubber
  6. Double quick
  7. Drag your feet
  8. At the drop of a hat
  9. To fast track something
  10. A flash in the pan
  11. Go full pelt
  12. Full steam ahead
  13. Get your skates on
  14. Go out like a light
  15. Greased lightning
  16. In a jiffy
  17. A quick buck
  18. A quick temper
  19. Like a rat up a drainpipe
  20. To move through the gears
  21. A flying start
  22. Pick up the pace
  23. Pick up speed
  24. Race out of the traps
  25. Rat race
  26. A speed demon
  27. To speed off
  28. A speed trap
  29. To spread like wildfire
  30. To throw something together
  31. Get up to speed


Now, here are the idioms about speed with meanings and examples.


1 – To move like a bat out of hell is to move very quickly or in a panic.

Example – She drove her car down the freeway like a bat out of hell.


2 – To beat a hasty retreat is to move away from something as quickly as you can.

Example – When the storm arrived, we beat a hasty retreat back to our house.


3 – Something that happens in the blink of an eye happens very quickly, almost instantly.

Example – The thief took the man’s wallet and disappeared in the blink of an eye.


4 – Something that happens or moves at breakneck speed happens extremely quickly or moves at a dangerous speed.

Example – He was riding at breakneck speed when lost control and crashed.


5 – If you burn rubber, you drive very quickly. This can also mean to hurry up.

Example – If you burn rubber down the freeway you can make it to my house in 30 minutes.


6 – To do something double quick is to do it extra fast.

Example – The soldiers moved double quick when they saw the enemy approaching.

a speeding race car on a track

7 – To drag your feet is to delay or do something slowly because you are being lazy or you don’t want to do it. This can also be said as drag your heels.

Example – The company is dragging its feet on giving its workers a pay rise.


8 – If you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it straight away without hesitating at all.

Example – She said that if he needed help, she would be there at a drop of a hat.


9 – To fast track something is to make it happen faster than usual.

Example – The government fast tracked the new laws to help with the emergency.


10 – A flash in the pan is success that only lasts a short time and is very unlikely to happen again.

Example – The pop singer was a flash in the pan and only made 1 hit song.


11 – To go at full pelt, full blast, full throttle or full tilt is to go as fast as possible.

Example – The stuntman hit the jump at full pelt in his car and jumped over the river.


12 – To go full steam ahead, means to try to do something or get something done as quickly as you can. The idiom full speed ahead has the same meaning.

Example – The government went full speed ahead trying to develop a vaccine for the virus.


13 – A person may tell you to get your skates on if they want you to hurry up.

Example – You had better get your skates on if you want to make it to the meeting on time.

view from a motorbike at high speed

14 – If you go out like a light, you fall asleep very quickly.

Example – After working hard all day he got home a went out like a light.


15 – We can say something that happens suddenly or moves very quickly moves like lightning or greased lightning.

Example – The racing car driver moves along the track like greased lightning.


16 – To do something in a jiffy is to do something straight away or very quickly.

Example – I need to go to the shop to buy milk but I will be back in a jiffy.


17 – A quick buck is money that is made very quickly by doing very little work.

Example – He decided to sell his car to make a quick buck.


18 – If you have a quick temper, you get angry very quickly and easily.

Example – She has a very quick temper and yells at her children all the time.


19 – To move like a rat up a drainpipe is to move suddenly and as fast as possible. This is often due to surprise or fear.

Example – When she saw the spider, she ran out of her room like a rat up a drainpipe.


20 – To move through the gears is to gradually increase speed, performance, or intensity.

Example – The football team moved through the gears and were playing far better after the first goal.

a powerboat to represent idioms about speed

21 – To get off to a flying start means to start quickly, successfully, or with an advantage.

Example – He spent a lot of money on advertising and got his business off to a flying start.


22 – To pick up the pace means to go faster.

Example – The song starts out slowly before picking up the pace.


23 – If you pick up speed you gain more speed and go faster than before.

Example – His bicycle picked up a lot of speed when he started rolling down the big hill.


24 – To race out of the traps is to begin doing something with a lot of speed and or enthusiasm.

Example – The home team raced out of the traps and were winning easily by halftime.


25 – When people talk about the rat race, they mean a busy working life where you compete to be successful. This is most often associated with the stress of working in a city.

Example – They decided to escape the rate race and moved to a quiet countryside town to open a small store.


26 – A speed demon is a person who drives very quickly or likes to do sports that involve high speeds. This can also be said as a speed merchant.

Example – John is a total speed merchant, he loves fast cars and motorbikes.

a formula 1 race car

27 – To speed off means to leave very quickly, usually in a vehicle.

Example – The robbers sped off from the bank in a pickup truck to get away from the police.


28 – A speed trap is a place along a road where police try to catch people who are driving too fast above the speed limit.

Example – She got caught at a speed trap doing 60 mph in a 50 mph zone and had to pay a large fine.


29 – To spread like wildfire means to spread or be passed on quickly.

Example – The gossip in the office about the manager spread like wildfire.


30 – To throw something together is to make something quickly usually without too much care.

Example – If you are hungry I can throw together some sandwiches.


31 – A turn of speed is to increase speed very quickly.

Example – On the final corner, the runner had a turn of speed and won the race.


32 – To get up to speed means to come to understand and learn the latest information or developments of a situation. It can also mean to be moving or working at a normal speed.

Example – The generals brought the president up to speed with what was happening in the war.


If you enjoyed the idioms about speed check out more in the idioms archive. You will also find some similar sayings on the faster than expressions page.

For a related speaking topic, have a look at the driving conversation questions.

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