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The word "speed", as formerly used in Middle English at the time that this term arose, did not pertain to rapidity, but was related to prosperity or success. Wishing a person Godspeed was expressing a hope that God would favor the person's efforts or endeavors, and would fulfill the person's hopes for them. It may formerly have been "good speed" (which would basically be the equivalent of "good luck"), but was changed over time to more specifically recognize God's role in permitting or determining the outcomes of events.
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