Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “speak”

See all translations

speak

verb  /spik/ ( past tense spoke  /spoʊk/, past participle spoken  /ˈspoʊ·kən/) us  

speak verb (SAY WORDS)

[I/T] to say words, to use the voice, or to have a conversation with someone: [I] I heard someone speaking in the hallway. [I] Please speak louder. [I] "I’ll never speak to you again," he said angrily. [T] No one spoke a word (= No one said anything). [I] She spoke in a whisper (= very quietly). [I/T] Speaking is used with adverbs ending in -ly to show that you are talking from a particular point of view: [I] Generally speaking, this is what happens when you see a nutritionist.

speak verb (KNOW A LANGUAGE)

[T] to talk in a language: How many languages do you speak? He speaks fluent Italian. When I arrived in Canada, I didn’t speak a word of English (= I did not know any English).

speak verb (FORMAL TALK)

[I] to give a formal talk: Will you be speaking at the conference? Ted will speak about careers in education.

speak verb (SUGGEST)

[I/T] to show or express something without using words: [I always + adv/prep] The incident spoke of shady financial dealings between the partners. [T] Her face spoke volumes (= showed clearly what she thought).
(Definition of speak from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of speak?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “speak” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

past participle

the form of a verb, usually made by adding -ed, used in some grammatical structures such as the passive and the present perfect

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More