speak·​ing ˈspē-kiŋ How to pronounce speaking (audio)
: that speaks : capable of speech
: having a population that speaks a specified language
usually used in combination
English-speaking countries
: that involves talking or giving speeches
a speaking role
a speaking tour
: highly significant or expressive : eloquent
: resembling a living being or a real object

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Owner Mark Cuban held a non-speaking role during a funeral scene. Dallas News, 7 July 2022 In the Netflix adaptation of The Dirt, Corabi is reduced to a non-speaking extra who gets about three seconds of camera time. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 8 Feb. 2022 Since no one mentions kids in Sondheim’s lyrics or Furth’s book scenes, Elliott has to add a non-speaking nightmare sequence, showing Bobbie’s tug-of-war between the attractions and repulsions of having a baby. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 9 Dec. 2021 Can Legendary make a Hobbs & Shaw-style team-up flick with two non-speaking kaiju? Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 City women are uniformly portrayed as drunk idiots, and the nearly nonexistent BIPOC appear in non-speaking roles in the service industry. Genevieve Angelson, Town & Country, 16 Dec. 2020 That includes speaking time, the length of pauses between speakers, the frequency of questions and the amount of overlapping talk. New York Times, 14 Apr. 2020 The White House’s press briefings are full of executives from companies like Walmart and underwear manufacturer Jockey International Inc, who often get even more speaking time than the medical professionals on the White House virus task force. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, The New Republic, 3 Apr. 2020 Lizzie Williamson, a 31-year-old who drove up from North Easton, Mass., to knock on doors for Ms. Warren, had watched the debate and was frustrated with how little speaking time Ms. Warren received. New York Times, 8 Feb. 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of speaking was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near speaking

Cite this Entry

“Speaking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speaking. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Legal Definition


: addressing matters not raised in the pleadings
a speaking motion
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