say - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlesaying
past tensesaid
past participlesaid
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to express something using words

    Pleased to meet you,’ he said with a smile.

    ‘When’s he coming back?’ ‘He didn’t say.’

    say (that):

    She said that she liked dancing.

    say how/what/who etc:

    Did he say who called?

    say something to someone:

    Tell me what he said to you.

    say hello/goodbye etc (to someone):

    Say hello to Jenny for me!

    say sorry (to someone for something):

    I’ve already said sorry for hurting his feelings.

    say yes/no (to someone/something) (=give/refuse permission):

    The committee said yes, so we can go ahead.

    a horrible/stupid/strange etc thing to say:

    What an odd thing to say, Carrie thought.

    say something on/about:

    I want to say something on this subject.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to think something, or to have a particular opinion

    I think we should stop now. What do you say?

    say (that):

    He always said you’d be rich and famous one day.

    I say we go (=I think we should go) by car: it’s quicker than the train.

    would say so/not (=think it is likely/unlikely):

    ‘Will she meet the deadline?’ ‘I would say so.’

    1. a.
      if people say something or if something is said, it is the opinion of a lot of people
      they/people say (that):

      They say laughter is the best medicine.

      as they say:

      Time, as they say, is a great healer.

      be said to do something:

      She is said to have great talent as an artist.

      The castle is said to be haunted.

      it is said (that):

      It is said that he was introduced to the king by a wealthy cousin.

  3. 3
    [transitive] [usually progressive] to mean something by a statement
    say (that):

    We are not saying that taxpayers should pay more.

    Is she saying she hasn’t got any homework?

     Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      to have a particular meaning for someone
      say something to someone:

      This music says nothing to me.

       Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [transitive] to give information or orders in writing, numbers, pictures etc

    My watch says quarter to twelve.

    say (that):

    Her letter says she’s arriving at midday.

    The rules say that we need a two-thirds majority to win.

    say how/when/what etc:

    Does it say on the box how much it costs?

  5. 5
    [transitive] to show indirectly what someone or something is like
    say something about someone/something:

    Your home says a lot about you.

    This incident says something about the way the company is run.

  6. 6
    [transitive] [usually in imperative] to imagine what will happen in a particular situation

    Say you get £2,000 for the car – you’ll still need another thousand.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to use something as a possible example

    Why don’t we have a break until, let’s say, 10.45?

  8. 8
    [transitive] informal to tell someone to do something
    say to do something:

    Mum said to do the dishes.

  9. 9
    [transitive] to repeat the words of something such as a prayer or speech that you have learned previously

    They lit candles and said prayers for the dead.

  10.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    say what (now)? spoken an informal way of asking someone to repeat what they have just said, especially because it is strange or surprising

    "There's a £10 administration fee." "Say what now?"

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 28/12/2013
See also