full speed ahead

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Alternative forms[edit]


full speed ahead

  1. (usually nautical) A command to move forward at maximum speed.
    Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot, chapter 4:
      We had advanced a hundred yards, perhaps, when our first danger confronted us. Just ahead was a sharp right-angle turn in the tunnel. I could see the river's flotsam hurtling against the rocky wall upon the left as it was driven on by the mighty current, and I feared for the safety of the U-33 in making so sharp a turn under such adverse conditions; but there was nothing for it but to try. I didn't warn my fellows of the danger--it could have but caused them useless apprehension, for if we were to be smashed against the rocky wall, no power on earth could avert the quick end that would come to us. I gave the command full speed ahead and went charging toward the menace. I was forced to approach the dangerous left-hand wall in order to make the turn, and I depended upon the power of the motors to carry us through the surging waters in safety.


full speed ahead (uncountable)

  1. (usually nautical) Maximum speed on a ship.
    Then he gave it full speed ahead, and shot us into the inlet.
  2. (idiomatic) Maximum effort without reservations or delay.
    We got the OK on the conversion project. It's full speed ahead.


full speed ahead (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) With maximum effort, without reservations or delay.
    He charged full speed ahead into his studies.


full speed ahead (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Unhesitant.
    The company's full speed ahead approach to product development would ultimately be its downfall.
    • 2009, Shattered, →ISBN, page 129:
      I was always so busy and full-speed ahead that I didn't take any time out to really listen to God.
    • 2013, Pete Takeda, An Eye at the Top of the World, →ISBN, page 90:
      And what he's done in climbing is no less than world class — a blend of vision and genetic athleticism, with a full-speed-ahead approach that dwells on the possibilities, not the problems.