say Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “say” in the English Dictionary

"say" in British English

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sayverb

uk   us   /seɪ/ (said, said)
  • 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 ​childrenfind 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) tomeet him here. I've got something to say to you. The ​offer was so good that I couldn't say no (= couldn't ​refuse).

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  • 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 ​hotsummer." "So they say (= that is what ​peoplebelieve)." She is a ​firmleader, too ​firm, some might say (= some ​peoplebelieve 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 ​startlooking for a ​motel 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 ​peoplethink or ​believe about it, him, or her: [+ (that)] It is said (that)Latin is a ​difficultlanguage 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 ​sign 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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sayexclamation

uk   us   /seɪ/ old-fashioned
used to ​expresssurprise or ​pleasure, or to ​attractattention to what you are about to say: US Say, that's really good of you!US Say, how about going out ​tonight?UK I say, what a ​splendidhat you're ​wearing!

saynoun [S or U]

uk   us   /seɪ/
(Definition of say from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"say" in American English

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sayverb

 us   /seɪ/ (past tense and past participle said  /sed/ , present tense says  /sez/ )
  • say verb (SPEAK)

[T] to ​speak or ​pronounce words: How do you say ​yourname? The ​child could say her ​ABCs when she was still a ​baby.
  • say verb (EXPRESS)

[I/T] to ​express something in words, or to ​tell someone something: [T] What did you say to him? [I] Mom said to ​meet her in ​front of the ​building. [I/T] To say also ​means to ​communicate without using words, esp. in ​music and ​art: [T] What do you ​think the ​artist said in this ​painting?
  • say verb (STATE AN OPINION)

[I/T] to ​state an ​opinion: [+ (that) clause] If they’re late, I say (that) we go without them. [I/T] Say can also ​meanimagine: [+ (that) clause] Let’s say (that) you are a ​planner and that you ​thinkfarahead.
  • say verb (GIVE INFORMATION)

[I/T] to ​provideinformation or ​instructions in writing: [T] What does that ​sign say?

saynoun [U]

 us   /seɪ/
  • say noun [U] (RIGHT TO AN OPINION)

the ​right or ​opportunity to give ​youropinion or be ​involved in making ​decisions: I have no say in ​hiring and ​firing.
(Definition of say from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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