speak

verb
\ ˈspēk How to pronounce speak (audio) \
spoke\ ˈspōk How to pronounce spoke (audio) \; spoken\ ˈspō-​kən How to pronounce spoken (audio) \; speaking

Definition of speak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to utter words or articulate sounds with the ordinary voice : talk
b(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
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 speakwas at the enemy's gates, so to speak— C. S. Forester
c : to serve as spokesperson
3a : to express feelings by other than verbal means actions speak louder than words
b : signal
c : to be interesting or attractive : appeal great music … speaks directly to the emotions— A. N. Whitehead
4 : to make a request or claim used with for usually used in passive constructionsthe seat was already spoken for
5 : to make a characteristic or natural sound all at once the thunder spoke— George Meredith
6a : testify
b : to be indicative or suggestive his gold … spoke of riches in the land— Julian Dana

transitive verb

1a(1) : to utter with the speaking voice : pronounce
(2) : to give a recitation of : declaim
b : to express orally : declare free to speak their minds
c : address, accost especially : hail entry 3
2 : to make known in writing : state
3 : to use or be able to use in speaking speaks Spanish
4 : to indicate by other than verbal means
5 archaic : describe, depict
to speak of
: worthy of mention or notice usually used in negative constructionsno progress to speak of
\ ˌspēk \

Definition of -speak (Entry 2 of 2)

used to form especially nonce words denoting a particular kind of jargonCaliforniaspeak

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Other Words from speak

Verb

speakable \ ˈspē-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce speakable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of speak in a Sentence

Verb Have you two spoken since yesterday? She and I spoke this morning. He never speaks at the meetings. Without speaking, she walked from the room. They were speaking in Japanese. When I said you were my best friend, I was speaking sincerely. She must be speaking the truth. Not a word was spoken between them the whole time. He has laryngitis and can't speak. She speaks with a Southern accent.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Twigs’s collaborators often speak of her stamina and work ethic with mystified pride. Emily J. Lordi Photographs By Liz Johnson Artur, New York Times, "FKA Twigs," 19 Oct. 2020 The two main negotiators will speak at 3 p.m., according to a person familiar with the plan who asked not to be named as the schedule isn’t public. Billy House, Bloomberg.com, "Mnuchin, Pelosi to Talk Fiscal Stimulus Again Monday Afternoon," 19 Oct. 2020 McConnell will speak about the path forward on the Senate floor later Monday afternoon. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Congress and Trump White House hint at coronavirus aid deal," 19 Oct. 2020 Some, such as Max Kennedy Jr., one of the volunteers on Jared Kushner’s slapdash team tasked with procuring ventilators and personal protective equipment, speak cathartically about the lack of leadership. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The COVID-19 Documentary All Americans Need to See," 19 Oct. 2020 Vaccines may not be all that profitable for Big Pharma and biotechs For Big Phrama firms, a vaccine is unlikely to move the financial needle, so to speak. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Don't buy the stock market hype around coronavirus vaccine and treatment companies," 14 Oct. 2020 In the case of Grafton, the history of Living Free—so to speak—has deep roots. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, "The Town That Went Feral," 13 Oct. 2020 People will also be treating themselves, so to speak. Michele Herrmann, Smithsonian Magazine, "From Wider Corn Mazes to Virtual Haunted Houses, Halloween Looks Different This Year," 9 Oct. 2020 The height of the great conjunction, so to speak, is on December 21, 2020. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get an Absolutely Perfect View of Mars This Week," 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speak.' 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 speak

Verb

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

History and Etymology for speak

Verb

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

Noun combining form

newspeak

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Time Traveler for speak

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for speak

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Speak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speak. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for speak

speak

verb
How to pronounce -speak (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of speak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of -speak (Entry 2 of 2)

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

speak

verb
\ ˈspēk How to pronounce speak (audio) \
spoke\ ˈspōk \; spoken\ ˈspō-​kən \; speaking

Kids Definition of speak

1 : to utter words : talk He speaks too fast.
2 : to utter in words Does he speak the truth?
3 : to mention in speech or writing She spoke of being ill.
4 : to use or be able to use in talking Can you speak Spanish?
speak out
: to express an opinion openly
speak up
1 : to speak loudly and clearly
2 : to express an opinion openly

Choose the Right Synonym for speak

speak, talk, and converse mean to express in words. speak is used of anything said, whether it is understood or not and whether it is heard or not. We didn't know what language they were speaking. talk is used when there is a listener who understands what is said and often when both people do some speaking. We talked about school. converse is used for the exchange of thoughts and opinions. The scientists conversed about traveling in space.

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Comments on speak

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