\ 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

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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 President Trump, who has long been a critic of Chicago’s policies dating back to Emanuel’s time in office, slammed Johnson during a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in the Windy City. Fox News, "Chicago's top cop Eddie Johnson considering retirement, he says," 6 Nov. 2019 And her being done is so evident in her powerful speech at that event. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "Empire star Taraji P. Henson on that big Cookie and Lucious reveal: 'She's done'," 6 Nov. 2019 Walker was a presenter at the panel and recalled Lee encouraging her prior to giving her speech. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "MCSO announces fundraiser to honor slain Officer Gene Lee, 'a kind and generous person'," 1 Nov. 2019 In a speech at Georgetown, his testimony to Congress, and his insistence that Facebook will allow politicians to run false ads, Zuckerberg has reignited the fights that followed Trump's election. Wired, "Zuckerberg's View of Speech on Facebook Is Stuck in 2004," 31 Oct. 2019 And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. Jeremy Barr, The Hollywood Reporter, "Twitter Bans Political Advertisements Amid Facebook Scrutiny," 30 Oct. 2019 In a recent speech at Georgetown University, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg surprised the world with his cry for help. Patty Limerick, The Denver Post, "Limerick: Zuckerberg stands at the great frontier; Western history should guide him," 25 Oct. 2019 Bezos said on Tuesday during a speech at the International Astronautical Congress, the world’s biggest space conference, in Washington, DC. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Jeff Bezos has built a team to take astronauts back to the moon," 22 Oct. 2019 Finally, the researchers examined how perceptions based on just a few seconds of speech might influence hiring decisions. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Yale study shows class bias creeps into the hiring process in just a matter of seconds," 21 Oct. 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.

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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 2019

Time Traveler for speech

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

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More Definitions for speech


How to pronounce speech (audio)

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 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.


\ ˈspēch How to pronounce speech (audio) \

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

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