Haste and speed
A friend asked me to investigate the expression more haste, less speed as it doesn’t seem to make sense. I’ve always interpreted as meaning you should do something more hastily and less quickly, which seems illogical to me.
The OED defines haste as:
1. Urgency or impetuosity of movement resulting in or tending to swiftness or rapidity; quickness, speed, expedition (properly of voluntary action).
2. Such quickness of action as excludes due consideration or reflection; hurry, precipitancy, want of deliberation, rashness.
The primary meaning of speed is given as:
Quickness in moving or making progress from one place to another, usually as the result of special exertion; celerity, swiftness; also, power or rate of progress.
So both words are related to swiftness, but haste can also indicate imeptuousness. There are a number of other meanings of speed though, which are now obsolete:
1. abundance; 2. power, might; 3. Success, prosperity, good fortune; profit, advancement, furtherance.
I suspect that the speed part of ‘more haste, less speed’ might be using speed in the sense of success, good fortune, etc. That would make more sense.
Then again, maybe the saying means that if you doing something hastily, you will also do it more slowly. So maybe it’s encouraging you to slow down, take your time and do it better.
How do you interpret this expression? Do you know any simliar ones?