🤩 Discover new information from across the web

speak

Overview

This page has 16 definitions of speak in English and Scots. Speak is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use speak in a sentence are shown. Also define these 23 related words and terms: communicate, voice, say, word, out loud, conversation, converse, orally, writing, facial, expressions, speech, language, utter, bespeak, indicate, humorous, understand, sound, jargon, terminology, bar, and speakeasy.

See also: -speak

English

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English speken (to speak), from Old English specan (to speak), alteration of earlier sprecan (to speak), from Proto-West Germanic *sprekan, from Proto-Germanic *sprekaną (to speak, make a sound), from Proto-Indo-European *spreg- (to make a sound, utter, speak).

Pronunciation

Verb

speak (third-person singular simple present speaks, present participle speaking, simple past spoke or (archaic) spake, past participle spoken or (colloquial, nonstandard) spoke)

  1. (intransitive) To communicate with one's voice, to say words out loud.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXV, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071, page 203:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them.
    I was so surprised I couldn't speak.
    You're speaking too fast.
    • Voice definition
      Sound uttered by the mouth, especially by human beings in speech or song; sound thus uttered considered as possessing some special quality or character (1 of 12 voice definitions)
    • Word definition

      The smallest unit of language that has a particular meaning and can be expressed by itself; the smallest discrete, meaningful unit of language.

      1. The smallest discrete unit of spoken language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more phonemes and one or more morphemes
      2. The smallest discrete unit of written language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more letters or symbols and one or more morphemes
      3. A discrete, meaningful unit of language approved by an authority or native speaker (compare non-word).
      (1 of 21 word definitions)
  2. (intransitive, reciprocal) To have a conversation.
    It's been ages since we've spoken.
  3. (by extension) To communicate or converse by some means other than orally, such as writing or facial expressions.
    He spoke of it in his diary.
    Speak to me only with your eyes.
    Actions speak louder than words.
  4. (intransitive) To deliver a message to a group; to deliver a speech.
    This evening I shall speak on the topic of correct English usage.
  5. (transitive) To be able to communicate in a language.
    He speaks Mandarin fluently.
    1. (by extension) To be able to communicate in the manner of specialists in a field.
      • 1998, Nigel G Fielding, Raymond M Lee, Computer Analysis and Qualitative Research[1], page 4:
        Even those who did 'speak computer' did so sometimes in a less than fluent way which required a jump to be made from a press-the-right-button stage to having the confidence to experiment.
  6. (transitive) To utter.
    I was so surprised that I couldn't speak a word.
  7. (transitive) To communicate (some fact or feeling); to bespeak, to indicate.
  8. (informal, transitive, sometimes humorous) To understand (as though it were a language).
    Sorry, I don't speak idiot.
    So you can program in C. But do you speak C++?
  9. (intransitive) To produce a sound; to sound.
  10. Of a bird, to be able to vocally reproduce words or phrases from a human language.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 220:
      Miles tremblingly confessed that it had, but to no purpose; a parrot being able to speak better in three weeks than a brazen head.
  11. (transitive, archaic) To address; to accost; to speak to.
Usage notes
  • Saying that one speaks a language often means that one can or knows how to speak it ("I speak Italian"); similarly, "I don't speak Italian" usually means that one cannot, rather than that one chooses not to.

Synonyms

Antonyms

Derived terms

Coordinate terms

Related terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun

speak (countable and uncountable, plural speaks)

  1. language, jargon, or terminology used uniquely in a particular environment or group.
    Corporate speak; IT speak.
  2. Speech, conversation.

Derived terms

Translations

Noun

speak (plural speaks)

  1. (dated) a low class bar, a speakeasy.

Anagrams


Scots

Etymology

From Old English sprecan

Pronunciation

Verb

speak (third-person singular present speaks, present participle speakin, past spak, past participle spoken)

  1. to speak

Derived terms