Company Logo

Definition from macmillandictionary.com

say

 
 
 
Close

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 morefrequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

verb American English pronunciation: say /seɪ/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theysay
he/she/itsays
present participlesaying
past tensesaid
past participlesaid
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to express something using words

    "Nice 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 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 a strange thing to say, Carrie thought.

    say something on/about:

    I want to say something about 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.

    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?

    1. a.
      to have a particular meaning for someone
      say something to someone:

      This music says nothing to me.

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

    My watch says quarter of twelve.

    say (that):

    Her letter says she's coming at noon.

    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:

    Mom 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.

phrases

See also

This is the American English definition of say. View British English definition of say.