Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “speak”

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 mindFigurative use of language
(Definition of speak from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “speak” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

see the light of day

When something sees the light of day, it appears for the first time.

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More