\ 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 In that speech, McKibben described carbon emissions as responsible for the heat equivalent of detonating 400,000 Hiroshima bombs every day in the atmosphere. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Jonathan Schell’s Warning From the Brink," 22 May 2020 In the speech, Hanks gave shout-outs to the senior class leaders and school principals. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Tom Hanks delivers graduation speech to Skyline High School’s Class of 2020," 22 May 2020 In the former case, the speakers have the ability to present evidence and defend their speech. Jack Greiner, Cincinnati.com, "Strictly Legal: The First Amendment and domestic relations," 20 May 2020 Some fans watching the American Idol finale on Sunday night were distracted by host Ryan Seacrest, who appeared to slur his speech. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "What to Know About Ryan Seacrest's 'Stroke' Symptoms, According to Doctors," 19 May 2020 The church also omitted singing and longer speeches, Stawarczyk said. Arizona Republic, "Some churches resume in-person services on Sunday as Arizona reopens," 18 May 2020 The police alleged that Khan had delivered hate speeches during the anti-CAA protests at the Aligarh Muslim University. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "India decongests its jails to check coronavirus but political prisoners are still locked up," 13 May 2020 But there was another part of his speech that will forever be etched in fan’s hearts. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "Diddy On His Mentor Andre Harrell: 'You Were My Father for 30 Years'," 12 May 2020 President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, BTS, Lady Gaga, Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Malala Yousafzai will all be giving speeches for the big event. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "President Barack Obama, BTS, Lady Gaga and More to Give Commencement Addresses in Special YouTube Event," 5 May 2020

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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Statistics for speech

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Speech.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speech. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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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

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