What does 'godspeed' mean? What is the definition of 'godspeed' / 'god speed'?

The words "God speed" are found only in the King James Version of the Bible, and only in 2 John 1:10–11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." John is saying we should not wish a false teacher of the gospel a certain success or blessing brought by God.

The origins of the phrase godspeed meant to wish someone success, or a wish that God would prosper someone. It comes from the Middle English "God speid", or "God spede you" from the 15th century. It was used to bless someone starting a journey or some special endeavor.

Spede, or speid, is not about swiftness, but prosperity. It is similar in nature to saying goodbye—which originated with "God be with ye" in English. In French, the salutation adieu, and in Spanish adios, also have connections with God, both originally meaning "I commend you to God."


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