velocity, change in displacement with respect to time. Displacement is the vector counterpart of distance, having both magnitude and direction. Velocity is therefore also a vector quantity. The magnitude of velocity is known as the speed of a body. The average velocity or average speed of a moving body during a time period t may be computed by dividing the total displacement or total distance by t. Computation of the instantaneous velocity at a particular moment, however, usually requires the methods of the calculus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.