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

hard luck story

a story or piece of information that someone tells you or writes about himself or herself, intended to make you feel feel sympathy for that person

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More