speech

noun
\ ˈspēch How to pronounce speech (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

After speeches and dinner, the party really got started, thanks to music by the 10-piece A-List band. Ryan Ray, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Bride Found Her Gown One Month Before Her Absolutely Stunning Vineyard Wedding," 2 Apr. 2019 Facebook has been under fire globally for failing to take sufficient action against hate speech and misinformation on its site. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Facebook to Block White Nationalism, Separatism Content on Site," 27 Mar. 2019 Rhimes gave a stirring keynote speech and other notable guests, like musician SZA and activist Jazz Jennings, were in attendance. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "Why Shonda Rhimes Doesn't Believe in Imposter Syndrome," 16 Oct. 2018 The First Amendment protects political speech; pushing boundaries to test the limits of civil discourse is something very different. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Book tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet’s “id”," 30 Dec. 2018 Eventually that develops to the classic staccato pattern of speaking, in which speech abruptly stops and starts again. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Selma Blair Reveals Her MS Led to Spasmodic Dysphonia," 27 Feb. 2019 Other meme-makers were focused on the actual broadcast, where pretty much every celebrity got blatantly cut off mid-acceptance speech. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "13 Grammy Memes That Will Leave You Hysterical Laughing," 11 Feb. 2019 So this isn’t the same as translating private thoughts into speech. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Translate Brain Waves Into Speech," 30 Jan. 2019 Video Police YouTube has removed millions of videos for violating its community guidelines, including against spam, pornography, incitement to violence, harassment or hate speech, after complaints from outside sources. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech," 8 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about speech

Statistics for speech

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for speech

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for speech

speech

noun

English Language Learners Definition of speech

: a spoken expression of ideas, opinions, etc., that is made by someone who is speaking in front of a group of people
: the ability to speak
: spoken language

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
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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on speech

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with speech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for speech

Spanish Central: Translation of speech

Nglish: Translation of speech for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of speech for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about speech

Comments on speech

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of returning to life

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!