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English definition of “say”

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say

verb uk   /seɪ/ (said, said) us  

say verb (SPEAK)

A1 [T] to pronounce words or sounds, to express a thought, opinion, or suggestion, or to state a fact or instruction: Small children find it difficult to say long words. She said goodbye to all her friends and left. Ben never forgets to say "Please" and "Thank you". How do you say "goodbye" in French? I'm sorry, what did you say? Do you know what she said to him? What did they say about the house? [+ speech] "I'm going out this evening," she said. He said to himself (= thought), "This will never work." [+ (that)] The doctors say (that) it will take him a few weeks to recover. [+ question word] She didn't say whether she was coming. Did she say (= tell you) why she wasn't coming? [+ to infinitive] informal He said (= told me) to meet him here. I've got something to say to you. The offer was so good that I couldn't say no (= couldn't refuse).
More examples
  • He said he was coming.
  • I said she should give him a call.
  • Did she say why she left so early?
  • He said that he'd already tried it.
  • What did she say about the cost?

say verb (THINK)

B1 [I or T] to think or believe: [+ (that)] People/They say (that) he's over 100. "It's going to be a very hot summer." "So they say (= that is what people believe)." She is a firm leader, too firm, some might say (= some people believe that she is too firm).B1 [I or T] to give (as) an opinion or suggestion about something: "Who do you think will get the job?" "I'd rather not say." What are you saying, exactly? (= What do you mean?) [+ (that)] We've been driving all day - I say (that) we start looking for a hotel now. informal What do you say we sell the car? (= What do you think about selling it?) [T] to show what you think without using words: [+ (that)] The look on his face said (= showed) (that) he knew what had happened.B2 [T always passive] When something or someone is said to be a particular thing, that is what people think or believe about it, him, or her: [+ (that)] It is said (that) Latin is a difficult language to learn. [+ to be + noun/adj] He's said to be over 100.
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say verb (GIVE INFORMATION)

B1 [T] to give information in writing, numbers, or signs: My watch says three o'clock. Can you read what that notice says? [+ (that)] It says in the paper (that) they've found the man who did it. [+ to infinitive] It says on the bottle to take three tabletsa day.
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say

exclamation uk   /seɪ/ us  
used to express surprise or pleasure, or to attract attention to what you are about to say: US Say, that's really good of you! US Say, how about going out tonight? UK old-fashioned or humorous I say, what a splendid hat you're wearing!

say

noun [S or U] uk   /seɪ/ us  
(the right to give) an opinion about something: Can't you keep quiet for a minute and let me have my say. The judge usually has the final say.
(Definition of say from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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