Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb, \ˈsā, Southern also ˈse\

Simple Definition of say

  • : to use your voice to express (something) with words

  • : to express (an opinion)

  • : to express (a fact) with certainty

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of say

said play \ˈsed, especially when subject follows səd\ saying play \ˈsā-iŋ\ says play \ˈsez, sometimes ˈsāz, especially when subject follows səz\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to express in words :  stateb :  to state as opinion or belief :  declare

  3. 2a :  utter, pronounceb :  recite, repeat <say your prayers>

  4. 3a :  indicate, show <the clock says five minutes after twelve>b :  to give expression to :  communicate <a glance that said all that was necessary>

  5. 4 :  suppose, assume <let's say you're right>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to express oneself :  speak

sayer play \ˈsā-ər, ˈser\ noun
say uncle
  1. :  to admit defeat

that is to say
  1. :  in other words :  in effect

to say nothing of
  1. :  not to mention :  and notably in addition <will need more time, to say nothing of money>

Examples of say in a sentence

  1. Is anybody there? he said.

  2. Good morning, said the woman behind the counter.

  3. I said three words before he interrupted me again.

  4. I just stopped by to say hello.

  5. He left without saying goodbye.

  6. I wanted to say thank you for all you've done for me.

  7. She said something about going to the store after work.

  8. He said something in French.

  9. Anything you say to the police can be used as evidence against you.

  10. Don't believe a word he says.

Origin of say

Middle English, from Old English secgan; akin to Old High German sagēn to say, Lithuanian sakyti, Greek ennepein to speak, tell

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of say

  • : an opportunity to express your opinion

  • : the power to decide or help decide something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of say

plural says play \ˈsāz, Southern also ˈsez\

  1. 1 archaic :  something that is said :  statement

  2. 2 :  an expression of opinion <had my say>

  3. 3 :  a right or power to influence action or decision; especially :  the authority to make final decisions

Examples of say in a sentence

  1. Everybody had a say at the meeting.

  2. We won't make a decision until all members have had their say.

  3. The judge will have the final say on the divorce settlement.

  4. He had no say in the matter.


First Known Use of say





Definition of say

  1. 1 :  about, approximately <the property is worth, say, four million dollars>

  2. 2 :  for example :  as <if we compress any gas, say oxygen>

Examples of say in a sentence

  1. <a person consumes, say, 2000 calories a day>

Origin of say

from imperative of 1say

First Known Use: circa 1596

SAY Defined for Kids



verb \ˈsā\

Definition of say for Students

said \ˈsed\saying \ˈsā-iŋ\

  1. 1 :  to express in words <He said that she would be late.> <What does the card say?>

  2. 2 :  to state as an opinion or decision :  declare <I say you are wrong.>

  3. 3 :  1repeat 2, recite <I said my prayers.>

  4. 4 :  indicate 2, show <The clock says half past ten.>

  5. 5 :  to consider as a possibility or example <Can you spare, say, 20 dollars?>




Definition of say for Students

  1. 1 :  an expression of opinion <We all had a say at the meeting.>

  2. 2 :  the power to decide or help decide <We had no say in the matter.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up say? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to expose to danger or risk

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.