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

be in/out of luck

to be able/unable to have or do what you want

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

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