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 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 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 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 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

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who announced her 2020 bid last month, spoke in Austin earlier on Saturday. Washington Post, "Warren Says Breaking Up Tech Giants Will Keep Market Competitive," 18 Sep. 2019 But generally speaking, in our fairly small sample of seven presidential elections, the contests that Republicans won are much more fungible than those Democrats won. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 2019 So, naturally, EW spoke with artist Clay Mann about drawing such a superhero snack, complete with an exclusive look at this week’s Batman #79. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Hot daddy Batty: Batman #79 artist talks Bruce Wayne's beefcake beach bod," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead, Bettel spoke with reporters beside an empty podium intended for Johnson, with the Union Jack still in place. NBC News, "U.K.'s top court to decide if PM Johnson suspending parliament was legal," 17 Sep. 2019 Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran, spoke with congressional staffers from the national security committees about the situation in a call Monday afternoon. Anchorage Daily News, "Tehran rules out talks with U.S. as Trump steps back from directly blaming Iran," 17 Sep. 2019 During the tearful ceremony, Stewart spoke of Alvarez's heroism through his simple but courageous acts of speaking out. Taylor Romine, CNN, "New York mayor gives 9/11 responder's family a key to the city," 17 Sep. 2019 The first call was a hang up and in the second, the caller did not speak but dispatchers heard screaming. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Cheshire man accused of fatally stabbing wife last week faces new charge of murder," 17 Sep. 2019 Ashley Overbey, the plaintiff in that case, spoke in support of the bill Monday. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "Mayor and City Council split over ‘gag orders’ in city settlements, including in cases of police abuse," 17 Sep. 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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Learn More about speak

Dictionary Entries near speak

spd

SPD

spdl

speak

-speak

speak down

speakeasy

Statistics for speak

Last Updated

20 Sep 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 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

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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