A novel continuous-wave (CW) direct detection lidar (DDL) is demonstrated to be capable of wind speed measurement 40 m away with an update rate of 4 Hz using a fiber-based scanning Fabry–Perot interferometer as an optical frequency discriminator. The proposed CW DDL has a large dynamic wind speed range with no sign ambiguity and its sensitivity is assessed by comparing its performance with that of a CW coherent detection lidar (CDL) in a side-by-side wind measurement. A theoretical model of the spatial weighting function of the fiber-based CW DDL is also presented and validated experimentally. This work shows that the CW DDL has a spatially confined measurement volume with a Lorentzian axial profile similar to that of a CW CDL. The proposed DDL has potential use in various applications in which requirements such as high-speed wind sensing and directional discrimination are not met by state-of-the-art Doppler wind lidar systems.