Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

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.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb speak pronunciation in American English /spik/ 
Word Forms
present tense
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.



a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog