1) VERB When you speak, you use your voice in order to say something.

He tried to speak, but for once, his voice had left him...

He speaks with a lisp...

[V to/with n] I rang the hotel and spoke to Louie...

[V to/with n] She says she must speak with you at once...

[V of/about n] She cried when she spoke of Oliver.

[V n] ...as I spoke these idiotic words.

Derived words:
spoken ADJ ADJ n

...a marked decline in the standards of written and spoken English in Britain.

2) VERB When someone speaks to a group of people, they make a speech.

[V to n] When speaking to the seminar Mr Franklin spoke of his experience, gained on a recent visit to Trinidad...

He's determined to speak at the Democratic Convention...

[V of n] The President spoke of the need for territorial compromise.

3) VERB If you speak for a group of people, you make their views and demands known, or represent them.

[V for n] He said it was the job of the Church to speak for the underprivileged...

[V for n] I speak for all 7,000 members of our organization...

[V for n] Obviously I can't speak for other people, but certainly no one I know would entertain the idea.

4) VERB If you speak a foreign language, you know the language and are able to have a conversation in it.

[V n] He doesn't speak English...

[V n] Many of them can speak two or three or more languages.

5) VERB People sometimes mention something that has been written by saying what the author speaks of.

[V of n] Throughout the book Liu speaks of the abuse of Party power...

[V of n as n] St Paul speaks of the body as the `temple of the Holy Spirit'.

6) V-RECIP: with neg If two people are not speaking, they no longer talk to each other because they have quarrelled.

[V to n] He is not speaking to his mother because of her friendship with his ex-wife...

[pl-n V] The co-stars are still not speaking.

7) VERB: no cont If you say that something speaks to you of a quality, experience, or feeling, you mean that it is evidence of it or expresses it.

[V of n] His behaviour spoke of an early maturity...

[V of n] The length of the car and the high polish of its fittings both spoke of money...

[V to n] Their music speaks to us with an innate grandeur we can all understand.

8) VERB: no cont If you say that something speaks for itself, you mean that its meaning or quality is so obvious that it does not need explaining or pointing out.

[V for pron-refl] ...the figures speak for themselves - low order books, bleak prospects at home and a worsening outlook for exports...

[V for pron-refl] The results speak for themselves.

9) See also speaking
10) CONVENTION If you say `Speak for yourself' when someone has said something, you mean that what they have said is only their opinion or applies only to them. [INFORMAL]

`We're not blaming you,' Kate said. `Speak for yourself,' Boris muttered.

11) PHRASE: V inflects If a person or thing is spoken for or has been spoken for, someone has claimed them or asked for them, so no-one else can have them.

She'd probably drop some comment about her `fiancé' into the conversation so that he'd think she was already spoken for...

By December last year most of the resources had been spoken for.

12) PHRASE If you say that actions speak louder than words, you mean that people's actions show their real attitudes, rather than what they say. This expression is sometimes used to advise a person to do something positive.
13) PHRASE: n PHR, with brd-neg Nothing to speak of means `hardly anything' or `only unimportant things'.

They have no weaponry to speak of...

`Any fresh developments?' - `Nothing to speak of.'

14) PHRASE: cl PHR n You can use not to speak of when adding something which your previous statement also applies to, or applies to even more than other things.

This move caused consternation among universities and the government, not to speak of the students affected.

not to mention
15) PHRASE: V inflects, PHR n If you speak well of someone or speak highly of someone, you say good things about them. If you speak ill of someone, you criticize them.

Both spoke highly of the Russian president...

It seemed she found it difficult to speak ill of anyone.

16) PHRASE: PHR with cl You use so to speak to draw attention to the fact that you are describing or referring to something in a way that may be amusing or unusual rather than completely accurate.

I ought not to tell you but I will, since you're in the family, so to speak...

The five countries have now all passed, so to speak, their entry test.

as it were
17) PHRASE: usu v-link PHR, oft PHR with n If you are on speaking terms with someone, you are quite friendly with them and often talk to them.

For a long time her mother and her grandmother had hardly been on speaking terms.

18) to speak your mindsee mind
to speak volumessee volume
Phrasal Verbs:

English dictionary. 2008.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • speak*/*/*/ — [spiːk] (past tense spoke [spəʊk] ; past participle spoken [ˈspəʊkən] ) verb 1) to talk to someone about something We spoke yesterday.[/ex] I phoned your office and spoke to your assistant.[/ex] Let me speak with Jennifer and see what she… …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • speak — W1S1 [spi:k] v past tense spoke [spəuk US spouk] past participle spoken [ˈspəukən US ˈspou ] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(in conversation)¦ 2¦(say words)¦ 3¦(language)¦ 4¦(formal speech)¦ 5¦(express ideas/opinions)¦ 6 so to speak 7 speak your mind …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • speak — [ spik ] (past tense spoke [ spouk ] ; past participle spo|ken [ spoukən ] ) verb *** ▸ 1 talk about something or to someone ▸ 2 use voice to talk ▸ 3 talk particular language ▸ 4 give formal speech ▸ 5 express ideas/thoughts ▸ 6 talk on… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Speak — Ст …   Википедия

  • Speak — Speak, v. i. [imp. {Spoke}({Spake}Archaic); p. p. {Spoken}({Spoke}, Obs. or Colloq.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Speaking}.] [OE. speken, AS. specan, sprecan; akin to OF.ries. spreka, D. spreken, OS. spreken, G. sprechen, OHG. sprehhan, and perhaps to Skr …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • speak — [spēk] vi. spoke, spoken, speaking [ME speken < OE specan, earlier sprecan, akin to Ger sprechen < IE base * sp(h)er(e) g , to strew, sprinkle > SPARK1, L spargere, to sprinkle: basic sense “to scatter (words)”] 1. to utter words with… …   English World dictionary

  • Speak — can mean: * Speech communication * SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids), a Maryland based organization for suicide prevention * Speak (artist), the Hungarian rap artist and internet phenomenon famous for his anti war video *… …   Wikipedia

  • speak — ► VERB (past spoke; past part. spoken) 1) say something. 2) (speak to) talk to in order to advise, pass on information, etc. 3) communicate in or be able to communicate in (a specified language). 4) (speak for) express the views or position of …   English terms dictionary

  • Speak — Speak, v. t. 1. To utter with the mouth; to pronounce; to utter articulately, as human beings. [1913 Webster] They sat down with him upn ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him. Job. ii. 13. [1913 Webster] 2. To utter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • speak of — ˈspeak of [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they speak of he/she/it speaks of present participle speaking of past tense spoke of …   Useful english dictionary

  • speak — (v.) O.E. specan, variant of sprecan to speak (class V strong verb; past tense spræc, pp. sprecen), from P.Gmc. *sprekanan (Cf. O.S. sprecan, O.Fris. spreka, M.Du. spreken, O.H.G. sprehhan, Ger. sprechen to speak, O.N. spraki rumor …   Etymology dictionary

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