\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

Nelson said in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Wednesday. David Smiley And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Florida’s politicians use slimy algae to muddy each other," 11 July 2018 Kethledge acknowledged that in a May 2013 speech to U-M's law school. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Possible Supreme Court pick Kethledge's ties to University of Michigan," 9 July 2018 Hate speech is generally not permitted on Facebook, though the company notes that context is important to its evaluations. Eli Rosenberg, latimes.com, "Facebook censored a post for ‘hate speech.’ It was the Declaration of Independence," 6 July 2018 Hate speech is generally not permitted on Facebook, though the company notes that context is important to its evaluations. Eli Rosenberg, ajc, "Facebook censored a post for 'hate speech.' It was the Declaration of Independence," 5 July 2018 While that speech to thousands of people is unlikely to directly address the raw political division in the United States, Obama will talk about tolerance and inclusion, organizers said. Mary Jordan, chicagotribune.com, "Ahead of high-stakes midterms, Barack Obama plans a bigger role in political races," 29 June 2018 In a conference that focused heavily on concrete advice and best practices, Stevenson’s speech was perhaps an outlier. Matthew Heimer, Fortune, ""Do Some Uncomfortable and Inconvenient Things": A Civil Rights Champion's Call to Action for CEOs," 27 June 2018 Klein showed signs of being under the influence, as her speech was slurred, there was a strong odor of alcohol and her eyes were glossy, the report said. Adriana Ramirez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Menomonee Falls woman accused of driving under the influence with her newborn in the backseat," 27 June 2018 Due to her stroke, Claire's mother's speech is slurred to such an extent that half her lines are rendered unintelligible. Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader, "The farce Fuddy Meers makes a critic long for amnesia," 22 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

11 Nov 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).


a private place of worship

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