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

Choose the Right Synonym for speak

Verb

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.

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 Hunters and photographers know that one of the best ways to observe a wild animal is to lure it in by speaking its native tongue. John Kennedy, Popular Science, "Four whistles and instruments you can use to call wildlife," 7 Jan. 2020 The words were those of Major-General Hossein Salami, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), speaking at the funeral of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force. The Economist, "Avengers assemble How will Iran retaliate for the killing of Qassem Suleimani?," 7 Jan. 2020 They are not charged with speaking harsh truths and helping us see ourselves vividly and become better versions of ourselves. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 The successful grassroots campaign begun in 2011 to create a RoboCop statue (which has yet to be installed in a permanent site) speaks to the character's iconic status. Freep.com, "Michigan's Greatest Movies: Who won, Eddie Murphy, Clint Eastwood or Eminem?," 5 Jan. 2020 French President Emmanuel Macron is speaking to his counterparts in the Middle East in an effort to contain tensions, European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said on RTL radio. Nick Wadhams, Fortune, "Iran and U.S. Trade Threats in Fallout From General’s Killing," 4 Jan. 2020 Silence is not required in order to hear the pastor speaking from pulpit. Jana Bennett, The Conversation, "Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are," 26 Dec. 2019 Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke trashed the idea that the NBA would reward the in-season tourney winner with an extra first-round pick. Marilyn Payne, For The Win, "WATCH: Mark Cuban says the idea of an in-season NBA tournament is 'so dumb'," 24 Dec. 2019 Trump said of Gabbard on Saturday while speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Trump Gives 'Respect' To Tulsi Gabbard For Voting Present On Impeachment," 23 Dec. 2019

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

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Speak.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speak. Accessed 19 January 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on speak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for speak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with speak

Spanish Central: Translation of speak

Nglish: Translation of speak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of speak for Arabic Speakers

Comments on speak

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to insert between existing elements

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