\ˈspēch \

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

3a : language, dialect

b : an individual manner or style of speaking

4 : the power of expressing or communicating thoughts by speaking

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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

Afterward, Dulce Gonzalez’s father called the Strunks into the room and gave a speech thanking them. Hannah Natanson, BostonGlobe.com, "A storm was ruining this beach wedding. Then a total stranger made the bride an offer," 12 July 2018 More recently, Professor Zhu, the historian from Shanghai, gave a speech there arguing that China’s course of reform and opening up had stalled after 1989. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "In Beijing, Doors Shut on a Bastion of Independent Ideas," 11 July 2018 Chris Flowers gave that speech at the Lawrence City Commission meeting on June 19, and people across the country, including late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, have watched it. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Legalize ‘happy ending’ massages, Lawrence man urges council. His passion is praised," 11 July 2018 Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for Supreme Court Justice, visited Milwaukee twice in the past four years to give speeches to students at Marquette University Law School. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spoke to law students at Marquette Law School," 10 July 2018 The Godmothers Lady Laura Meade: Her husband, James, is an old friend of William's who gave a speech at his wedding and is a godfather of Princess Charlotte. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Aren't Prince Louis' Godparents—Here's Why," 9 July 2018 State lawmakers attended the rally but didn't give speeches. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "4 ways people supported Curtis Hill's accusers at Saturday's rally," 7 July 2018 Lovett said he was never asked to give a graduation speech, though past valedictorians had gotten to, according to the newspaper. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, "Principal refuses to allow first black valedictorian to give speech, so Rochester mayor intervenes," 4 July 2018 She was criticized for wearing a distracting outfit when she was set to give a speech about bullying. Pamela Ren Larson, azcentral, "All eyes on Melania Trump's attire for expected Arizona visit," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for speech

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for speech

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

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More Definitions for speech



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


\ˈspēch \

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.


\ˈspēch \

Medical Definition of speech 

: the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words

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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

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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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