See also: -speak

EnglishEdit

 
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Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English speken (to speak), from Old English specan (to speak), alteration of earlier sprecan (to speak), from Proto-West Germanic *sprekan, from Proto-Germanic *sprekaną (to speak, make a sound), from Proto-Indo-European *spreg- (to make a sound, utter, speak).

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

speak (third-person singular simple present speaks, present participle speaking, simple past spoke or (archaic) spake, past participle spoken or (colloquial, nonstandard) spoke)

  1. (intransitive) To communicate with one's voice, to say words out loud.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXV, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071, page 203:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them.
    I was so surprised I couldn't speak.
    You're speaking too fast.
  2. (intransitive, reciprocal) To have a conversation.
    It's been ages since we've spoken.
  3. (by extension) To communicate or converse by some means other than orally, such as writing or facial expressions.
    He spoke of it in his diary.
    Speak to me only with your eyes.
    Actions speak louder than words.
  4. (intransitive) To deliver a message to a group; to deliver a speech.
    This evening I shall speak on the topic of correct English usage.
  5. (transitive) To be able to communicate in a language.
    He speaks Mandarin fluently.
    1. (by extension) To be able to communicate in the manner of specialists in a field.
      • 1998, Nigel G Fielding, Raymond M Lee, Computer Analysis and Qualitative Research[1], page 4:
        Even those who did 'speak computer' did so sometimes in a less than fluent way which required a jump to be made from a press-the-right-button stage to having the confidence to experiment.
  6. (transitive) To utter.
    I was so surprised that I couldn't speak a word.
  7. (transitive) To communicate (some fact or feeling); to bespeak, to indicate.
  8. (informal, transitive, sometimes humorous) To understand (as though it were a language).
    Sorry, I don't speak idiot.
    So you can program in C. But do you speak C++?
  9. (intransitive) To produce a sound; to sound.
  10. Of a bird, to be able to vocally reproduce words or phrases from a human language.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 220:
      Miles tremblingly confessed that it had, but to no purpose; a parrot being able to speak better in three weeks than a brazen head.
  11. (transitive, archaic) To address; to accost; to speak to.

Usage notesEdit

  • Saying that one speaks a language often means that one can or knows how to speak it ("I speak Italian"); similarly, "I don't speak Italian" usually means that one cannot, rather than that one chooses not to.

SynonymsEdit

AntonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Coordinate termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

NounEdit

speak (countable and uncountable, plural speaks)

  1. language, jargon, or terminology used uniquely in a particular environment or group.
    Corporate speak; IT speak.
  2. Speech, conversation.

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

NounEdit

speak (plural speaks)

  1. (dated) a low class bar, a speakeasy.

AnagramsEdit


ScotsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Old English sprecan

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

speak (third-person singular present speaks, present participle speakin, past spak, past participle spoken)

  1. to speak

Derived termsEdit