Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of say
Meaning of say by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • enPR: sā, IPA: /seɪ/, X-SAMPA: /seI/
    • Rhymes: -eɪ

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English seyen, seggen, from Old English secġan ( “to say, speak” ), from Proto-Germanic *sagjanan ( “to say” ), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷe-, *skʷē- ( “to tell, talk” ). Cognate with West Frisian sizze ( “to say” ), Dutch zeggen ( “to say” ), German sagen ( “to say” ), Swedish säga ( “to say” ) .


    say ( third-person singular simple present says present participle saying, simple past and past participle said )

    1. To pronounce .
      Please say your name slowly and clearly .
    2. To recite .
      Martha, will you say the Pledge of Allegiance?
    3. To communicate, either verbally or in writing .
      He said he would be here tomorrow .
    4. To indicate in a written form .
      The sign says it’s 50 kilometres to Paris .
    5. ( impersonal ) to have a common expression; used in singular passive voice or plural active voice to indicate a rumor or well-known fact.
    6. ( informal, imperative ) Let's say; used to mark an example, supposition or hypothesis.
      • 1984, Martin Amis, Money: a suicide note‎
      A holiday somewhere warm – Florida, saywould be nice .
      Say he refuses. What do we do then?
    • See Wikisaurus:utter
    Derived terms

    See also

    • say in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • say in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913



    1. ( informal ) Used to gain one's attention before making an inquiry or suggestion; hey
      Say, what did you think about the movie?


    say ( plural: says )

    1. One's stated opinion or input into a discussion.

    Etymology 2

    From Middle French saie, from Latin saga, plural of sagum ( “military cloak” ) .


    say ( uncountable )

    1. A type of fine cloth similar to serge.
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.iv:
        All in a kirtle of discolourd say / He clothed was [...] .



Explanation of say by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. give instructions to or direct somebody to do something with authority

    2. express a supposition

    3. Let us say that he did not tell the truth
      Let's say you had a lot of money--what would you do?
    4. indicate

    5. The clock says noon
    6. communicate or express nonverbally

    7. What does this painting say?
      Did his face say anything about how he felt?
    8. recite or repeat a fixed text

    9. Say grace
    10. speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way

    11. I cannot say `zip wire'
    12. utter aloud

    13. express in words

    14. state as one's opinion or judgement

    15. I say let's forget this whole business
    16. report or maintain

    17. The registrar says that I owe the school money
    18. have or contain a certain wording or form

    19. What does the law say?
    1. the chance to speak

    2. let him have his say

    Definition of say by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Say ( sā ), obs. imp. of See. Saw. Chaucer.

    2. Say ( sā ), n. [Aphetic form of assay.]
      1. Trial by sample; assay; sample; specimen; smack. [Obs.]

      If those principal works of God . . . be but certain tastes and says, as it were, of that final benefit. Hooker.

      Thy tongue some say of breeding breathes. Shak.

      2. Tried quality; temper; proof. [Obs.]

      He found a sword of better say. Spenser.

      3. Essay; trial; attempt. [Obs.]

      To give a say at, to attempt. B. Jonson.

    3. Say, v. t. To try; to assay. [Obs.] B. Jonson.

    4. Say, n. [OE. saie, F. saie, fr. L. saga, equiv. to sagum, sagus, a coarse woolen mantle; cf. Gr. σάγος. See Sagum.]
      1. A kind of silk or satin. [Obs.]

      Thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord! Shak.

      2. A delicate kind of serge, or woolen cloth. [Obs.]

      His garment neither was of silk nor say. Spenser.

    5. Say, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Said ( sĕd ), contracted from sayed; p. pr. & vb. n. Saying.] [OE. seggen, seyen, siggen, sayen, sayn, AS. secgan; akin to OS. seggian, D. zeggen, LG. seggen, OHG. sagēn, G. sagen, Icel. segja, Sw. säga, Dan. sige, Lith. sakyti; cf. OL. insece tell, relate, Gr. ἔννεπε ( for ἐν-σεπε ), ἔσπετε. Cf. Saga, Saw a saying.]
      1. To utter or express in words; to tell; to speak; to declare; as, “he said many wise things”.

      Arise, and say how thou camest here. Shak.

      2. To repeat; to rehearse; to recite; to pronounce; as, “to say a lesson”.

      Of my instruction hast thou nothing bated

      In what thou hadst to say? Shak.

      After which shall be said or sung the following hymn. Bk. of Com. Prayer.

      3. To announce as a decision or opinion; to state positively; to assert; hence, to form an opinion upon; to be sure about; to be determined in mind as to.

      But what it is, hard is to say. Milton.

      4. To mention or suggest as an estimate, hypothesis, or approximation; hence, to suppose; -- in the imperative, followed sometimes by the subjunctive; as, “he had, say fifty thousand dollars; the fox had run, say ten miles”.

      Say, for nonpayment that the debt should double,

      Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble? Shak.

      It is said, or They say, it is commonly reported; it is rumored; people assert or maintain. -- That is to say, that is; in other words; otherwise.

    6. Say, v. i. To speak; to express an opinion; to make answer; to reply.

      You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge. Shak.

      To this argument we shall soon have said; for what concerns it us to hear a husband divulge his household privacies? Milton.

    7. Say, n. [From Say, v. t.; cf. Saw a saying.] A speech; something said; an expression of opinion; a current story; a maxim or proverb. [Archaic or Colloq.]

      He no sooner said out his say, but up rises a cunning snap. L'Estrange.

      That strange palmer's boding say,

      That fell so ominous and drear

      Full on the object of his fear. Sir W. Scott.