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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 British English /spiːk/
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 flood waters rose.
    speak about: He spoke movingly about his son’s struggle with cancer.
    1. a.
      to talk about something in a particular way
      Let me speak frankly.
  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 local MP will be speaking at our graduation ceremony.
    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 favour 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.’
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used for telling someone who has called you on the telephone and has asked to talk to you that they are speaking to the right person
      ‘Is Janey there, please?’ ‘Speaking.’
      Synonyms and related words



… a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying

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