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English definition of “speak”

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speak

verb
 
 
/spiːk/ ( past tense spoke, past participle spoken)
SAY WORDS [I] A1 to say something using your voice: to speak loudly/quietly There was complete silence - nobody spoke.Saying and utteringSaying againWays of speaking
speak to sb ( mainly US speak with sb) A1 to talk to someone: Could I speak to Mr Davis, please? Have you spoken with your new neighbors yet?Informal talking and conversation
speak about/of sth to talk about something: He refused to speak about the matter in public. In the interview she spoke of her sadness at her mother's death.Informal talking and conversation
speak English/French/German, etc A1 to be able to communicate in English/French/German, etc: Do you speak English? He speaks very good French.Using other languages
IN PUBLIC [I] to make a speech to a large group of people: She was invited to speak at a conference in Madrid.Lecturing and addressing
speak for/on behalf of sb to express the feelings, opinions, etc of another person or of a group of people: I've been chosen to speak on behalf of the whole class.Saying and utteringSaying againExpressing and asking opinionsRemarks and remarkingControlling emotions
generally/personally, etc speaking B2 used to explain that you are talking about something in a general/personal, etc way: Personally speaking, I don't like cats.Informal talking and conversation
so to speak used to explain that the words you are using do not have their usual meaning →  See also speak/talk of the devil , speak your mind Figurative use of language
(Definition of speak from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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