\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

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Other Words from say


sayer \ˈsā-ər, ˈser \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for say

Synonyms: Verb

assume, 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

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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
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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

But the slide towards autocracy has pushed millions to stand up and demand a say in how their lives are governed. Vivienne Walt, Time, "Meet 4 Crusaders Who Are Keeping the Dream of Democracy Alive," 12 July 2018 But at that point, the 10-day clock starts again, which means Baker will likely be able to veto a policy after the formal session ends July 31, leaving the Legislature without a say. Joshua Miller And Matt Stout,, "Mass. Legislature could strengthen Charlie Baker’s hand with budget delay," 12 July 2018 The Planned Development Commission will make a recommendation to the Village Board, which has final say. Chuck Fieldman,, "Residents crowd Oak Brook meeting to oppose 22-story luxury condo development," 12 July 2018 The Zoning Commission’s vote against the project serves as a recommendation to the Sycamore Township Board of Trustees, which has final say. Jeanne Houck,, "Zoning Commission puts the brakes on proposed $90 million Kenwood project," 10 July 2018 And teaching a robot to do something new is exhausting, requiring line after line of code and joystick tutorials in say, picking up an apple. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Don't Just Lecture Robots—Make Them Learn," 9 July 2018 The San Antonio tourism industry took one step Thursday toward enacting a new fee paid by hotel guests that official say is necessary to stay competitive with tourist destinations. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio City Council gives initial approval to new hotel fee to fund tourism promotion," 21 June 2018 San Francisco’s next mayor won’t have any direct say over the bill, which stalled in committee in April but which Wiener plans to revive next year. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, "Housing a defining issue in SF mayor’s race," 2 June 2018 Why should anybody who doesn’t watch his channel get a say? Inkoo Kang, Slate Magazine, "No One Can Fire Logan Paul," 4 Jan. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for say

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

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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.

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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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