verb \ˈspēk\

Definition of speak


play \ˈspōk\;


play \ˈspō-kən\;


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to utter words or articulate sounds with the ordinary voice :  talkb (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 disputec (1) :  to express oneself before a group (2) :  to address one's remarks speak to the issue

  3. 2a :  to make a written statement his diaries … spoke … of his entrancement with death — Sy Kahnb :  to use such an expression —often used in the phrase so to speak was at the enemy's gates, so to speak — C. S. Foresterc :  to serve as spokesperson

  4. 3a :  to express feelings by other than verbal means actions speak louder than wordsb :  signalc :  to be interesting or attractive :  appeal great music … speaks directly to the emotions — A. N. Whitehead

  5. 4 :  to make a request or claim —used with for —usually used in passive constructions the seat was already spoken for

  6. 5 :  to make a characteristic or natural sound all at once the thunder spoke — George Meredith

  7. 6a :  testifyb :  to be indicative or suggestive his gold … spoke of riches in the land — Julian Dana

  8. transitive verb
  9. 1a (1) :  to utter with the speaking voice :  pronounce (2) :  to give a recitation of :  declaimb :  to express orally :  declare free to speak their mindsc :  address, accost; especially :  hail

  10. 2 :  to make known in writing :  state

  11. 3 :  to use or be able to use in speaking speaks Spanish

  12. 4 :  to indicate by other than verbal means

  13. 5 archaic :  describe, depict


play \ˈspē-kə-bəl\ adjective

to speak of

  1. :  worthy of mention or notice —usually used in negative constructions no progress to speak of

Examples of speak in a sentence

  1. Have you two spoken since yesterday?

  2. She and I spoke this morning.

  3. He never speaks at the meetings.

  4. Without speaking, she walked from the room.

  5. They were speaking in Japanese.

  6. When I said you were my best friend, I was speaking sincerely.

  7. She must be speaking the truth.

  8. Not a word was spoken between them the whole time.

  9. He has laryngitis and can't speak.

  10. She speaks with a Southern accent.

Origin and Etymology of speak

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

First Known Use: before 12th century


noun combining form \ˌspēk\

Definition of -speak

  1. —used to form especially nonce words denoting a particular kind of jargon Californiaspeak

Origin and Etymology of -speak


SPEAK Defined for English Language Learners


verb \ˈspēk\

Definition of speak for English Language Learners

  • : 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


noun combining form \ˌspēk\

Definition of -speak for English Language Learners

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

SPEAK Defined for Kids


verb \ˈspēk\

Definition of speak for Students






  1. 1 :  to utter words :  talk He speaks too fast.

  2. 2 :  to utter in words Does he speak the truth?

  3. 3 :  to mention in speech or writing She spoke of being ill.

  4. 4 :  to use or be able to use in talking Can you speak Spanish?

speak out

  1. :  to express an opinion openly

speak up

  1. 1 :  to speak loudly and clearly

  2. 2 :  to express an opinion openly

Seen and Heard

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


feeling or affected by lethargy

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