\ ˈsā How to pronounce say (audio) , Southern also ˈse \
said\ ˈsed How to pronounce say (audio) , especially when subject follows  səd \; saying\ ˈsā-​iŋ How to pronounce say (audio) \; says\ ˈsez How to pronounce say (audio) , sometimes  ˈsāz , especially when subject follows  səz How to pronounce say (audio) \

Definition of say

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to express in words : state
b : to state as opinion or belief : declare
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 How to pronounce say (audio) , Southern also  ˈsez How to pronounce say (audio) \

Definition of say (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an expression of opinion had my say
2 : a right or power to influence action or decision especially : the authority to make final decisions
3 archaic : something that is said : statement



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 How to pronounce say (audio) , ˈser \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for say

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adverb

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Examples of say in a Sentence

Verb “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. Noun 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. Adverb a person consumes, say, 2000 calories a day
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Each say the other is a political extremist who would take the city down a radically wrong path. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "A contentious election for Anchorage mayor is nearing the finish line, revealing deep divisions on how the city should move ahead," 9 May 2021 In the murder case against Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan, their lawyers say the admission of this evidence is critical to their defense. Bill Rankin, ajc, "Judge to decide if Ahmaud Arbery’s imperfect past is relevant," 9 May 2021 Aides say the President is still hopeful of notching a bipartisan achievement before next year's midterm elections, even as fellow Democrats view the possibility dubiously. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Biden says he no longer understands Republicans. He has a chance to figure the GOP out this week.," 9 May 2021 Those supportive of Williams say his work is too important to be overshadowed by the allegations. NBC News, "Ahead of Supreme Court's decision on split juries, New Orleans DA tackles 'Jim Crow office'," 9 May 2021 Cybersecurity officials say that properly backing up data is a crucial defensive measure against ransomware. James Rundle, WSJ, "How Can Companies Cope with Ransomware?," 9 May 2021 Ukrainian officials say the reach of Russian television, particularly in the country’s border regions, is a security risk that has gone insufficiently addressed in seven years of war. New York Times, "Where Ukrainians Are Preparing for All-Out War With Russia," 8 May 2021 There is a tidal wave of interest in this divine feminine among Latter-day Saints, observers say. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Latter-day Saints are talking more about Heavenly Mother, and that’s where the debates and divisions begin," 8 May 2021 Tran and her lawyers say the only explanation for those conditions is her exposure, when she was directly hit by chemicals dropped from an American plane. Washington Post, "French court to decide landmark case against the U.S. makers of Agent Orange," 8 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those summer showdowns are going to have a huge say in how this race to the postseason shapes up., "About a quarter ways into the season, here are the truths we know about the Red Sox," 10 May 2021 Glazer pledged to accelerate discussions with fans about fans being able to have a greater say in United, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but the family controls the shares with the key voting rights. Rob Harris, ajc, "9 Super League clubs accept UEFA fines, 3 rebels face bans," 7 May 2021 Glazer pledged to accelerate discussions with fans about fans being able to have a greater say in United, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but the family controls the shares with the key voting rights. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, "9 Super League clubs accept UEFA fines, 3 rebels face bans," 7 May 2021 Attending the Tigers’ spring game on April 3 was enticing, but heading to Columbus three days later gave the Buckeyes the final say. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Ohio State football achieved immediate recruiting success in Florida by showing what happens when Kerry Coombs gets involved," 6 May 2021 Public Shareholders Have Diminished Rights: While The Honest Company forgoes the multi-class share structure of many recent IPOs, investors in this offering still have little to no say over corporate governance. David Trainer, Forbes, "The Honest Company Is Honestly Overvalued," 5 May 2021 That scenario — urban forestland on developable private property — means oftentimes the city agency with final say over whether the forests will be protected is the same one that oversees and approves plans to build on top of them. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis has few urban forests left — but many are privately owned and at risk," 30 Apr. 2021 Defense lawyers argued that Ferguson was an honest and tireless contractor who earned his contracts fair and square, and that Kilpatrick had no real say in how contracts were awarded. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Kwame Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson back home with family, new wife after prison release," 30 Apr. 2021 His team would narrow down hundreds of company requests submitted six months before the Oscars to a list of selections that Academy officials with final say would review. Jennifer Zhan, Vulture, "The 2021 Oscars Gift Bag Was Worth $205,000. How Did We Get Here?," 30 Apr. 2021

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 3


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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for say

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Say.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce say (audio) \
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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Nglish: Translation of say for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of say for Arabic Speakers

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