\ 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

This Is It uses a series of midair speech balloons to beckon attendees through a grove of trees, until finally unveiling a cautionary tale seemingly hidden inside a tree. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Apple Puts the AR in 'Art' (and in 'Transparent Sky-Being')," 16 Aug. 2019 Audio of Gardner’s recent speech to the Western Conservative Summit plays over beautiful views of Colorado. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "Four things I learned about the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in Iowa," 15 Aug. 2019 Analyzing a Warren stump speech without making reference to substance is akin to writing a biography of Marie Curie without mentioning radioactivity. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Arguing the World," 15 Aug. 2019 So far, its fruits include a brain cell census and a device that converts brain activity into speech. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "For a decade, Francis Collins has shielded NIH—while making waves of his own," 15 Aug. 2019 A year ago, Michelle Wolf compared then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Aunt Lydia in her controversial White House Correspondents' Association dinner speech. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ann Dowd Digs Deep to Understand Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale," 14 Aug. 2019 During a Dallas luncheon speech Wednesday hosted by the Dallas County Democratic Party, West pointed to his efforts to address problems with health care, education and policing throughout his 26-year career in the Texas Senate. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Royce West touts political experience for Senate primary in appeal to Dallas Democrats," 14 Aug. 2019 The choice to open with a snippet of Martin Luther King Jr's most famous speech is a head-scratcher, but the feature does put a serious spotlight on Tomorrowland's the top-tier production, friendly atmopshere and beautiful natural setting. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Tomorrowland Celebrates 15 Successful Years With 23-Minute 2019 Aftermovie: Watch," 13 Aug. 2019 The hijinks revolves around the fact that Lewis’ voice and speech patterns are eerily similar to Tyson’s. Rainer Sabin | Rsabin@al.com, al, "Alabama OLB laughs about meeting vocal twin, Mike Tyson," 12 Aug. 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

19 Aug 2019

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 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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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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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