Meaning of “speak” - Learner’s Dictionary


verb us uk /spiːk/ past tense spoke, past participle spoken

A1 to say something using your voice:

to speak loudly/quietly
There was complete silence - nobody spoke.

More examples

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?
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.
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.

to make a speech to a large group of people:

She was invited to speak at a conference in Madrid.
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.
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.
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

(Definition of “speak” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)