Up to speed

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Like many idioms, up to speed is an expression with its roots in a literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the expression up to speed, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Up to speed is a phrase that means being fully informed, having all the current information about something. The phrase up to speed was used as early as the mid-1800s to describe something that had the power to achieve optimum working speed, such as a mechanical device or an animal. This literal meaning of the phrase up to speed took on a more figurative meaning some time in the mid-1900s. The earliest known examples of the use of the phrase up to speed to mean being fully informed come from the 1970s, and refer to the Apollo 13 mission and the Watergate hearings. Bring up to speed is a phrase often used to mean to give someone all the information he or she needs in order to be effective.


One has to look no further than the recent hepatitis A outbreak to see that elected officials’ failure to get up to speed on housing policy is literally killing San Diegans. (The Huffington Post)

Garrett said Elliott will spend additional time at The Star over the next two days to get up to speed. (The Dallas Morning News)

For example, if you struggle with squats because you have tight hips and a weak core, it means you need to spend more time bringing these tight and weak areas up to speed. (The Chicago Daily Herald)

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