\ 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

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona gave a speech after winning the UEFA President’s Award on Thursday. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Eric Cantona Leaves Soccer World Baffled With Bonkers Award Acceptance Speech," 29 Aug. 2019 Mazurenko’s turns of phrase, his patterns of speech—were traits intrinsic to what made him him. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "This app is trying to replicate you," 29 Aug. 2019 In a speech on Sunday, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, addressed the weekend’s events and promised that his group would respond to any further Israeli attacks. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "Hezbollah Says Drones That Crashed in Beirut Suburbs Came From Israel," 25 Aug. 2019 Brinkley said Hogan gave a 20-minute speech on a variety of issues at the Maryland Association of Counties conference Saturday, and critics are picking one part to criticize. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland education commission calls Gov. Hogan’s criticism unfair, urges him to back plan to revamp schools," 22 Aug. 2019 Her brother, Rashad Haughton, was also on hand for the unveiling and gave a brief speech. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Aaliyah's Wax Figure Unveiled At Madame Tussauds In Las Vegas," 22 Aug. 2019 Swann had to give a tearful goodbye speech to his staff at American Pioneer Savings Bank. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "Richard Swann, ‘godfather of Democratic fundraising in Florida,' dies at 79," 22 Aug. 2019 O’Rourke said in a speech in Arkansas on Saturday night. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Attacks on racism and Trump resonate for Texans Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro," 20 Aug. 2019 That’s the day attorney Jon Pinney gave a City Club speech about the depressing state of the region’s financial condition. cleveland.com, "Cleveland is on the doorstep of doing something remarkable that no other city has done, but we could screw it up, especially if you don’t join," 20 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

2 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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