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verb \ˈspēk\

Simple Definition of speak

  • : to say words in order to express your thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc., to someone : to talk to someone

  • : to talk about a particular subject or person

  • : to say words to express yourself in a particular way

Full Definition of speak

spoke play \ˈspōk\ spo·ken play \ˈspō-kən\ speak·ing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to utter words or articulate sounds with the ordinary voice :  talkb (1) :  to express thoughts, opinions, or feelings orally (2) :  to extend a greeting (3) :  to be friendly enough to engage in conversation <still were not speaking after the dispute>c (1) :  to express oneself before a group (2) :  to address one's remarks <speak to the issue>

  3. 2a :  to make a written statement <his diaries…spoke…of his entrancement with death — Sy Kahn>b :  to use such an expression —often used in the phrase so to speak <was at the enemy's gates, so to speak — C. S. Forester>c :  to serve as spokesperson

  4. 3a :  to express feelings by other than verbal means <actions speak louder than words>b :  signalc :  to be interesting or attractive :  appeal <great music…speaks directly to the emotions — A. N. Whitehead>

  5. 4 :  to make a request or claim —used with for —usually used in passive constructions <the seat was already spoken for>

  6. 5 :  to make a characteristic or natural sound <all at once the thunder spoke — George Meredith>

  7. 6a :  testifyb :  to be indicative or suggestive <his gold…spoke of riches in the land — Julian Dana>

  8. transitive verb
  9. 1a (1) :  to utter with the speaking voice :  pronounce (2) :  to give a recitation of :  declaimb :  to express orally :  declare <free to speak their minds>c :  address, accost; especially :  hail

  10. 2 :  to make known in writing :  state

  11. 3 :  to use or be able to use in speaking <speaks Spanish>

  12. 4 :  to indicate by other than verbal means

  13. 5 archaic :  describe, depict

speak·able play \ˈspē-kə-bəl\ adjective
to speak of
  1. :  worthy of mention or notice —usually used in negative constructions <no progress to speak of>

Examples of speak

  1. Have you two spoken since yesterday?

  2. She and I spoke this morning.

  3. He never speaks at the meetings.

  4. Without speaking, she walked from the room.

  5. They were speaking in Japanese.

  6. When I said you were my best friend, I was speaking sincerely.

  7. She must be speaking the truth.

  8. Not a word was spoken between them the whole time.

  9. He has laryngitis and can't speak.

  10. She speaks with a Southern accent.

Origin of speak

Middle English speken, from Old English sprecan, specan; akin to Old High German sprehhan to speak, Greek spharageisthai to crackle

First Known Use: before 12th century


noun combining form \ˌspēk\

Simple Definition of -speak

  • —used to form words that refer to the special languages or words used for particular activities or by particular groups

Full Definition of -speak

  1. —used to form especially nonce words denoting a particular kind of jargon <Californiaspeak>

Origin of -speak


Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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