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speak - definition and synonyms


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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 speak pronunciation in American English /spik/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlespeaking
past tensespoke
past participlespoken
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  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.
  6. 6
    [intransitive] to speak to someone on the telephone
    “Who’s speaking?” “This is Mark Richards speaking.”



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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