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speak

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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verb American English pronunciation: speak /spik/ 
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyspeak
he/she/itspeaks
present participlespeaking
past tensespoke
past participlespoken
 
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to talk to someone about something
    speak to:

    I phoned your office and spoke to your assistant.

    speak with:

    Let me speak with Jennifer and see what she thinks.

    speak of:

    People spoke of their fear as the tornado approached.

    speak about:

    He spoke movingly about his son's struggle with cancer.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to use your voice to talk

    There was a long pause before she spoke again.

    He spoke so softly it was difficult to hear what he said.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to be able to talk in a particular language

    Do you speak Chinese?

    He speaks three languages.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to give a formal speech
    speak at:

    The governor will be speaking at our graduation.

    speak to:

    Petersen spoke to an audience of 2,000 at the conference.

  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] to express your ideas, thoughts, or opinions about something
    speak against/in favor of:

    Only a small group of people dared to speak against the war.

    speak well/highly of someone (=say good things about someone):

    Yvonne has spoken so highly of you.

    speak badly/ill of someone (=say bad things about someone):

    You shouldn't speak ill of your father.

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