speech

noun
\ ˈspēch How to pronounce speech (audio) \

Essential Meaning of speech

1 : a spoken expression of ideas, opinions, etc., that is made by someone who is speaking in front of a group of people She has to make/give/deliver a speech at the convention. a graduation speech about/on embracing future challenges See More ExamplesHe kept revising his speech [=the words that he had written for his speech] right up until the last minute. She thanked us in her acceptance speech. [=a speech given by someone receiving an award or prize]Hide
2 : the ability to speak I was so flustered that I momentarily lost the power of speech. She has a mild speech impediment. [=a condition that makes it difficult to speak normally] They fought for freedom of speech. = They fought for the right to/of free speech. [=they fought for the legal right to express their opinions freely]
3 : spoken language Slang is used mostly in informal/casual speech. Many words are more common in speech than in writing.

Full Definition of speech

1a : the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words
b : exchange of spoken words : conversation
2a : something that is spoken : utterance
b : a usually public discourse : address
b : an individual manner or style of speaking
4 : the power of expressing or communicating thoughts by speaking

Examples of speech in a Sentence

She has to make a speech at the convention. a graduation speech about embracing future challenges I was so flustered that I momentarily lost the power of speech. Slang is used mostly in informal speech. Many words are more common in speech than in writing.
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Recent Examples on the Web In each case, Biden delivered a lofty speech on the need to get something done and traveled to Capitol Hill to rally his own party, only to be rebuffed. chicagotribune.com, 14 Jan. 2022 Keys also delivers a pre-show speech full of encouraging words to hype them up. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, 14 Jan. 2022 The virtual event will include a keynote speech by Dr. Kim Martin, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator for Royal Oak Schools, a performance by the Detroit Youth Choir, messages from both school superintendents and more. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 14 Jan. 2022 In each case, Biden delivered a lofty speech on the need to get something done and traveled to Capitol Hill to rally his own party, only to be rebuffed. Zeke Miller, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Jan. 2022 Yesterday, the same man delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country farther apart. James Freeman, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 Thursday’s event also featured several musical performances and a keynote speech by Rev. Arthur Lawrence Cribbs Jr., interim senior pastor at Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale, Virginia. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Jan. 2022 Here are some of the top headlines: President Joe Biden will address voting rights during a speech in Atlanta today. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2022 In 2008, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a landmark speech called the National Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples. Britt Clennett, ABC News, 11 Jan. 2022

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

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

History and Etymology for speech

Middle English speche, from Old English sprǣc, spǣc; akin to Old English sprecan to speak — more at speak

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Time Traveler for speech

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near speech

SpEd

speech

speech community

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Statistics for speech

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Speech.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speech. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for speech

speech

noun
\ ˈspēch How to pronounce speech (audio) \

Kids Definition of speech

1 : the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words
2 : something that is spoken : statement Indeed, there had been so much talk that the steward … informed one and all that such speech went against the will of God …— Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead
3 : a public talk
4 : a form of communication (as a language or dialect) used by a particular group
5 : a way of speaking And he was quick to grasp the … rhythms of Lewis's speech and match them.— Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins the Great
6 : the ability to speak I was so surprised, I lost my speech.

speech

noun
\ ˈspēch How to pronounce speech (audio) \

Medical Definition of speech

: the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words

speech

noun

Legal Definition of speech

: words or conduct used to communicate or express a thought : expression — see also commercial speech, freedom of speech, free speech, obscene, symbolic speech

More from Merriam-Webster on speech

Nglish: Translation of speech for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of speech for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about speech

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