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



    From Middle English speken ( “to speak” ), from Old English specan ( “to speak” ), alteration of earlier sprecan ( “to speak” ), from Proto-Germanic *sprekanan ( “to speak, make a sound” ), from Proto-Indo-European *spreg- ( “to make a sound, utter, speak” ). Cognate with Dutch spreken ( “to speak” ), German sprechen ( “to speak” ), Albanian shpreh ( “to utter, voice, express” ) .


    • enPR: spēk, IPA: /spiːk/, X-SAMPA: /spi:k/
    • Rhymes: -iːk


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

    1. ( intransitive ) To communicate with one's voice, to say words out loud .
      I was so surprised I couldn't speak .
      You're speaking too fast .
    2. ( intransitive ) 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 .
      I just spoke with them on IRC .
      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 .
    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++?


    Related terms


    speak ( uncountable )

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


    speak ( plural: speaks )

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




    By Wiktionary ( 2012/03/16 18:49 UTC Version )


    Likely from newspeak, coined by George Orwell in 1984 .



    1. Indicates a manner of speech typical of or characterized by the root term.

    Derived terms

Explanation of speak by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. express in speech

    2. exchange thoughts

    3. use language

    4. the prisoner won't speak
      they speak a strange dialect
    5. give a speech to

    6. make a characteristic or natural sound

    Definition of speak by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Speak v. i. [imp. Spoke ( Spake ( ) Archaic ); p. p. Spoken ( Spoke, Obs. or Colloq. ); p. pr. & vb. n. Speaking.] [OE. speken, AS. specan, sprecan; akin to OF.ries. spreka, D. spreken, OS. spreken, G. sprechen, OHG. sprehhan, and perhaps to Skr. sphūrj to crackle, to thunder. Cf. Spark of fire, Speech.]
      1. To utter words or articulate sounds, as human beings; to express thoughts by words; as, “the organs may be so obstructed that a man may not be able to speak”.

      Till at the last spake in this manner. Chaucer.

      Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. 1 Sam. iii. 9.

      2. To express opinions; to say; to talk; to converse.

      That fluid substance in a few minutes begins to set, as the tradesmen speak. Boyle.

      An honest man, is able to speak for himself, when a knave is not. Shak.

      During the century and a half which followed the Conquest, there is, to speak strictly, no English history. Macaulay.

      3. To utter a speech, discourse, or harangue; to adress a public assembly formally.

      Many of the nobility made themselves popular by speaking in Parliament against those things which were most grateful to his majesty. Clarendon.

      4. To discourse; to make mention; to tell.

      Lycan speaks of a part of Caesar's army that came to him from the Leman Lake. Addison.

      5. To give sound; to sound.

      Make all our trumpets speak. Shak.

      6. To convey sentiments, ideas, or intelligence as if by utterance; as, “features that speak of self-will”.

      Thine eye begins to speak. Shak.

      To speak of, to take account of, to make mention of. Robynson ( More's Utopia ). -- To speak out, to speak loudly and distinctly; also, to speak unreservedly. -- To speak well for, to commend; to be favorable to. -- To speak with, to converse with. “Would you speak with me?” Shak.

      Syn. -- To say; tell; talk; converse; discourse; articulate; pronounce; utter.

    2. Speak v. t.
      1. To utter with the mouth; to pronounce; to utter articulately, as human beings.

      They sat down with him upn ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him. Job. ii. 13.

      2. To utter in a word or words; to say; to tell; to declare orally; as, “to speak the truth; to speak sense”.

      3. To declare; to proclaim; to publish; to make known; to exhibit; to express in any way.

      It is my father;s muste

      To speak your deeds. Shak.

      Speaking a still good morrow with her eyes. Tennyson.

      And for the heaven's wide circuit, let it speak

      The maker's high magnificence. Milton.

      Report speaks you a bonny monk. Sir W. Scott.

      4. To talk or converse in; to utter or pronounce, as in conversation; as, “to speak Latin”.

      And French she spake full fair and fetisely. Chaucer.

      5. To address; to accost; to speak to.

      [He will] thee in hope; he will speak thee fair. Ecclus. xiii. 6.

      each village senior paused to scan

      And speak the lovely caravan. Emerson.

      To speak a ship ( Naut. ), to hail and speak to her captain or commander.