speak

verb
\ ˈspēk \
spoke\ ˈspōk \; spoken\ ˈspō-​kən \; 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 speak was 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 constructions the 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
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 constructions no progress to speak of
\ ˌspēk\

Definition of -speak (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from speak

Verb

speakable \ ˈspē-​kə-​bəl \ 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

Getty Images Pregnancy is a pretty amazing thing, just objectively speaking. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Reportedly Gives Up Alcohol and Caffeine in Solidarity With Meghan Markle During Her Pregnancy," 31 Dec. 2018 Like a Mediterranean Cornwall, Salento, at the tip of Italy’s heel, is both a land’s end peninsula and a crossroads of cultures (some locals still speak an ancient Greek dialect). Lee Marshall, Condé Nast Traveler, "Puglia's Insider Address: Palazzo Daniele," 24 Dec. 2018 To grasp the issues fueling this silent epidemic, as well as how to fight them, Woman's Day spoke to three women battling hunger in their communities. Sandy M. Fernandez, Woman's Day, "How Three Women Are Pioneering to End Hunger in the U.S.," 14 Nov. 2018 Kelly Clarkson—a woman eternally after our own hearts—is back at it again, speaking her truth. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson Reveals How She Really Feels About Working Out," 4 Nov. 2018 Astrologically speaking, Jupiter’s motion will be extremely lucky, and hopefully, create positive change. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's November Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Mutreb's identity was confirmed by Turkish officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. Suzan Fraser, Fox News, "Man linked to Saudi prince at consulate when writer vanished," 18 Oct. 2018 Soon, the company had 20 million users in the country — despite the fact that, due to peculiarities of the local language and Unicode, its non-Burmese speaking moderators had very little insight into what was happening on the platform. Casey Newton, The Verge, "One easy thing Facebook should do in Myanmar," 10 Nov. 2018 Both are worth speaking to your doctor about, and treatment can include diet changes, psychosocial therapies, and other lifestyle changes, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Bloated?," 29 Oct. 2018

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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Learn More about speak

Dictionary Entries near speak

spd

SPD

spdl

speak

-speak

speak down

speakeasy

Statistics for speak

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for speak

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

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More Definitions for speak

speak

verb

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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with speak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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