say

1 of 3

verb

ˈsā How to pronounce say (audio)
 Southern also  ˈse
said ˈsed How to pronounce say (audio)
 especially when subject follows  səd
; saying ˈsā-iŋ How to pronounce say (audio) ; says ˈsez How to pronounce say (audio)
 sometimes  ˈsāz,
especially when subject follows
səz How to pronounce say (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to express in words : state
b
: to state as opinion or belief : declare
2
b
: recite, repeat
say your prayers
3
a
: indicate, show
the clock says five minutes after twelve
b
: to give expression to : communicate
a glance that said all that was necessary
4
: suppose, assume
let's say you're right

intransitive verb

: to express oneself : speak
sayer
ˈsā-ər How to pronounce say (audio)
ˈser
noun

say

2 of 3

noun

plural says ˈsāz How to pronounce say (audio)
Southern also
ˈsez How to pronounce say (audio)
1
: an expression of opinion
had my say
2
: a right or power to influence action or decision
especially : the authority to make final decisions
3
archaic : something that is said : statement

say

3 of 3

adverb

1
: about, approximately
the property is worth, say, four million dollars
2
: for example : as
if we compress any gas, say oxygen
Phrases
say uncle
: to admit defeat
that is to say
: in other words : in effect
to say nothing of
: not to mention : and notably in addition
will need more time, to say nothing of money

Example Sentences

Verb “Is anybody there?” he said. “Good morning,” said the woman behind the counter. I said three words before he interrupted me again. I just stopped by to say hello. He left without saying goodbye. I wanted to say thank you for all you've done for me. She said something about going to the store after work. He said something in French. Anything you say to the police can be used as evidence against you. Don't believe a word he says. Noun Everybody had a say at the meeting. We won't make a decision until all members have had their say. The judge will have the final say on the divorce settlement. He had no say in the matter. Adverb a person consumes, say, 2000 calories a day See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Justice goes one step further, airing an audio recording of Stier’s account, which the filmmakers say was entrusted to them by an anonymous source. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 21 Jan. 2023 But even with all the snow and rain, most of California remains in some level of drought, according to federal scientists who say multiple years of wet conditions would be needed to reverse the ongoing drying trend. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, 21 Jan. 2023 Gangs control vast expanses of the Haitian capital, carrying out what aid groups say is an unprecedented number of kidnappings, brutalizing men and raping women and children. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2023 The asset restrictions in House File 3 would mean families who have $2,750 – $4,250 in assets or savings would no longer be eligible for any benefits, which critics say discourages people from growing their savings. Anisha Kohli, Time, 21 Jan. 2023 Gangs control vast expanses of the Haitian capital, carrying out what aid groups say is an unprecedented number of kidnappings, brutalizing men and raping women and children. Amanda Coletta, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Jan. 2023 Attendance is still down about 35% from 2019, but Bokat and Carter say more people are coming in every day. Mae Anderson, ajc, 21 Jan. 2023 The doc also features new information that filmmakers say was submitted as tips to the FBI that is presented in the film as corroborating evidence to both Ford’s and Ramirez’ accounts. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Jan. 2023 Republicans say nothing has been done, that the voters were taken, George Skelton writes in his column. David Lautersenior Editor, Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2023
Noun
Berlin has the final say over reexport authorization, and German officials had been reluctant to dispatch Leopards unless the United States also pledged to send Abrams tanks. Naomi Schanen, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2023 Unlike most committees, where party leaders control their appointees, the speaker has final say over who sits on the Intelligence panel. Mariana Alfaro And Marianna Sotomayor, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Jan. 2023 While Stefanski and Schwartz will work together to retool the defensive staff, Stefanski will have final say over who comes and goes. cleveland, 23 Jan. 2023 McCarthy has the authority to unilaterally reject Democrats nominated to serve on the Intelligence panel because the speaker has the final say over membership of select committees. Los Angeles Times, 23 Jan. 2023 In particular, Stephen Sondheim, who wrote Sweeney Todd's music and lyrics, had the final say over the role. Emily Krauser, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2022 While Johnson said the new policy would remove his authority to create and manage his own teams, council members said the city manager still would have final say over who is hired, but with greater community input. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Nov. 2022 For her part, Judge Cannon overruled some of Dearie's initial plans for the special master process and has the final say over the independent review unless and until the 11th Circuit grants the Justice Department's request to step in. Robert Legare, CBS News, 14 Oct. 2022 Ultimately, the White House and Congress have final say over the agency’s priorities. Christina Jewett, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'say.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English secgan; akin to Old High German sagēn to say, Lithuanian sakyti, Greek ennepein to speak, tell

Adverb

from imperative of say entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1571, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adverb

circa 1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of say was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near say

Cite this Entry

“Say.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/say. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

say

1 of 3 verb
said ˈsed How to pronounce say (audio) ; saying ˈsā-iŋ How to pronounce say (audio) ; says ˈsez How to pronounce say (audio)
1
a
: to express in words : state
say what you mean using as few words as possible
b
: to state as opinion or belief : declare
said to be the best you can get
2
a
: utter entry 2 sense 2, pronounce
can't say more than three words without laughing
b
: recite sense 1, repeat
said my prayers
3
a
: indicate sense 2, show
the clock says five minutes after ten
b
: to give expression to : communicate
the look on his face said it all
4
: suppose sense 1, assume
let's say you're right
sayer noun

say

2 of 3 noun
1
: an expression of opinion
had my say
2
: the power to decide or help decide
had no say in the plans

say

3 of 3 adverb
1
: about as much or as many as
is worth, say, ten dollars
2
: as an example
pick any state, say Iowa

More from Merriam-Webster on say

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