\ˈsā, Southern also ˈse\
said\ˈsed, especially when subject follows səd \; saying\ˈsā-​iŋ \; says\ˈsez, sometimes ˈsāz, especially when subject follows səz \

Definition of say 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to express in words : state

b : to state as opinion or belief : declare

2a : utter, pronounce

b : recite, repeat say your prayers

3a : indicate, show the clock says five minutes after twelve

b : to give expression to : communicate a glance that said all that was necessary

4 : suppose, assume let's say you're right

intransitive verb

: to express oneself : speak

say uncle

: to admit defeat

that is to say

: in other words : in effect

to say nothing of

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


plural says\ˈsāz, Southern also ˈsez \

Definition of say (Entry 2 of 3)

1 archaic : something that is said : statement

2 : an expression of opinion had my say

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



Definition of say (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from say


sayer \ˈsā-​ər, ˈser \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for say

Synonyms: Verb

assume, hypothecate, hypothesize, postulate, premise, presume, presuppose, suppose

Synonyms: Noun

say-so, voice, vote

Synonyms: Adverb

about, approximately, around, like, more or less, much, near, plus or minus, roughly, some

Antonyms: Adverb

exactly, precisely

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of say in a Sentence


“Is anybody there?” he said. “Good morning,” said the woman behind the counter. I said three words before he interrupted me again. I just stopped by to say hello. He left without saying goodbye. I wanted to say thank you for all you've done for me. She said something about going to the store after work. He said something in French. Anything you say to the police can be used as evidence against you. Don't believe a word he says.


Everybody had a say at the meeting. We won't make a decision until all members have had their say. The judge will have the final say on the divorce settlement. He had no say in the matter.


a person consumes, say, 2000 calories a day
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The kids were taken to the Deerfield Beach district offices of the Broward Sheriff’s Office to be questioned, Kane said. Linda Trischitta,, "Four children interviewed by police after 'suspicious' fire," 28 Feb. 2018 Birst said of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. Maureen Robertson,, "NJROTC: ‘Leadership through leadership’," 28 Feb. 2018 Ice coverage rebounded a bit over the weekend, Thoman said on Monday. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Warm storms pummel Bering Sea, leading to ‘crazy’ ice melt-off," 28 Feb. 2018 Grossman said that the company will continue to evaluate its business strategy over the course of this year, with several changes already planned. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "'The World Doesn’t Need Another Diet': Weight Watchers Is Moving Beyond Just Counting Points," 28 Feb. 2018 Auburn coach Mickey Dean said Snow's illness wasn't expected to linger into this week. James Crepea,, "Auburn softball nearing full strength entering last non-conference event," 28 Feb. 2018 Ghani said a political framework for peace negotiations should be created with a ceasefire and the Taliban recognized as a legitimate political group with an official political office. NBC News, "Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offers peace talks with Taliban ‘without condition’," 28 Feb. 2018 Waymo said the video can be viewed on desktop or mobile, but recommends VR viewers like Google cardboard for a more-immersive experience. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Waymo offers virtual reality glimpse at riding in driverless car," 28 Feb. 2018 Gaines said that anxiety continued to build over the years. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Joanna Gaines Reveals She Was Bullied in School, and How It Shaped Her as a Parent," 27 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In another sign of the government’s weakness, lawmakers also passed an amendment giving Parliament more say over the government’s next steps if the assembly rejects the divorce deal in a vote set for Dec. 11. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "UK Parliament delivers rebuke to government over Brexit," 4 Dec. 2018 That gives him a commanding say in the company’s future. Paul Vigna, WSJ, "Overstock’s Founder Bets on Blockchain, Not Bedsheets," 23 Nov. 2018 So if Wolf does win, Democrats won’t have to rely on the state’s Supreme Court to change the maps next time — his veto pen will give them a say throughout. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "7 key governor races that could let Democrats roll back gerrymandering," 5 Nov. 2018 And with locals residents in the winning cities having little to no say in these deals, grassroots action is poised to take off. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 subsidies are deeply unpopular, but far from uncommon," 14 Nov. 2018 To fall under the executive exemption, the employee must, among other things, be involved in company management, regularly direct the work of at least two people, and have a significant say in hiring, firing, and promotional decisions. Dan Eaton,, "Salaried workers entitled to overtime pay unless exempt," 11 June 2018 Once the legal system has its say, everything else is public relations, and that's not said to dismiss. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "On Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, shamed baseball prospect Luke Heimlich, and second chances," 7 June 2018 And readers in the Calhoun County Peach Party demanded their say. John Kass,, "Who knew peaches could be so political?," 12 July 2018 Thousands of mostly young, progressive Irish citizens returned home to have their say. Emma Flynn, Vox, "I’m an Irish expat who flew home to vote to legalize abortion. It’s a thrilling moment.," 25 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'say.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of say


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1571, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for say


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


from imperative of say entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about say

Statistics for say

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for say

The first known use of say was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for say



English Language Learners Definition of say

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

: to express (an opinion)

: to express (a fact) with certainty



English Language Learners Definition of say (Entry 2 of 2)

: an opportunity to express your opinion

: the power to decide or help decide something


\ˈsā \
said\ˈsed \; saying\ˈsā-​iŋ \

Kids Definition of say

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

3 : repeat entry 1 sense 2, recite I said my prayers.

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

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



Kids Definition of say (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on say

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with say

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for say

Spanish Central: Translation of say

Nglish: Translation of say for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of say for Arabic Speakers

Comments on say

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


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!