views updated May 29 2018

speak / spēk/ • v. (past spoke / spōk/ ; past part. spo·ken / ˈspōkən/ ) [intr.] 1. say something in order to convey information, an opinion, or a feeling: in his agitation he was unable to speak she refused to speak about the incident. ∎  have a conversation: I wish to speak privately with you I'll speak to him if he calls. ∎  [tr.] utter (a word, message, speech, etc.): patients copy words spoken by the therapist. ∎  [tr.] communicate in or be able to communicate in (a specified language): my mother spoke Russian. ∎  make a speech before an audience, or make a contribution to a debate: twenty thousand people attended to hear him speak. ∎  (speak for) express the views or position of (another person or group): he claimed to speak for the majority of local people. ∎  convey one's views or position indirectly: speaking through his attorney, he refused to join the debate. ∎  (speak of) mention or discuss in speech or writing: the books speak of betrayal. ∎  (of behavior, a quality, an event, etc.) serve as evidence for something: her harping on him spoke strongly of a crush | [tr.] his frame spoke tiredness. ∎  (of an object that typically makes a sound when it functions) make a characteristic sound: the gun spoke again. ∎  archaic show or manifest (someone or something) to be in a particular state or to possess a certain quality: she had seen nothing that spoke him of immoral habits. ∎  (of an organ pipe or other musical instrument) make a sound: insufficient air circulates for the pipes to speak. ∎  (of a dog) bark. ∎  [tr.] archaic Naut. hail and hold communication with (a ship) at sea.2. (speak to) talk to in order to reprove or advise: she tried to speak to Seth about his drinking. ∎  talk to in order to give or extract information: he had spoken to the police. ∎  discuss or comment on formally: the Church wants to speak to real issues. ∎  appeal or relate to: the story spoke to him directly.PHRASES: not to speak of used in introducing a further factor to be considered: the rent had to be paid, not to speak of school tuition.nothing (or no —— or none) to speak of used to indicate that there is some but very little of something: I've no capital—well, none to speak of.so to speaksee so1 .something speaks for itself something's implications are so clear that it needs no supporting evidence or comments: the figures speak for themselves.speak for oneself give one's own opinions. ∎  [in imper.] used to tell someone that what they have said may apply to them but does not apply to others: “This is such a boring place.” “Speak for yourself—I like it.”speak in tonguessee tongue.speaking of used to introduce a statement or question about a topic recently alluded to: speaking of cost, can I afford to buy it?speak one's mind express one's feelings or opinions frankly.speak volumes (of a gesture, circumstance, or object) convey a great deal: a look that spoke volumes. ∎  be good evidence for: his record speaks volumes for his determination.speak well (or ill) of praise (or criticize).PHRASAL VERBS: speak out (or up) express one's feelings or opinions frankly and publicly: the administration will be forthright in speaking out against human rights abuses.speak up1. speak more loudly: We can't hear you. Speak up!2. see speak out above.speak up for speak in defense or support of: there was no independent body to speak up for press freedoms.DERIVATIVES: speak·a·ble adj.


views updated May 23 2018

speak everyone speaks well of the bridge that carries him over proverbial saying, late 17th century; meaning that someone is naturally well-disposed towards a source of help, whether or not it has been beneficial to others.
never speak ill of the dead proverbial saying, mid 16th century; earlier versions are ‘speak no evil of the dead’, as attributed to the Sparton ephor Chilon of the 6th century bc, and the Latin tag ‘de mortuis nil nisi bonum [say nothing of the dead but what is good]’.
speak as you find proverbial saying, late 16th century; often used in admonition or explanation.
speak not of my debts unless you mean to pay them proverbial saying, mid 17th century; warning against criticizing a person for their expenditure without taking any responsibility for it.

See also think first and speak afterwards.


views updated Jun 11 2018

Speak ★★★ 2004 (PG-13)

Stewart gives an amazingly touching performance as Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman who has retreated into selective mutism after being raped at a summer party. Having called the cops on a popular senior, Melinda is now a social pariah, with her parents (Perkins, Sweeney) too preoccupied to recognize her anguish. But over the school year, her unconventional art teacher, Mr. Freeman (Zahn), shows Melinda that expressing herself is a way to confront her experience. Based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. 93m/C DVD . Kristen Stewart, Steve Zahn, Elizabeth Perkins, D.B. Sweeney, Hallee Hirsh, Eric Lively, Michael Angarano, Robert John Burke, Allison Siko; D: Jessica Sharzer; W: Jessica Sharzer, Annie Young; C: Andrij Parekh. CABLE


views updated May 11 2018

speak pt. spoke, pp. spoken utter words. Late OE. str. vb. specan (corr. to MDu. speken, OHG. spehhen); superseding parallel OE. sprecan, which did not survive beyond XII = OS. sprekan (Du. spreken), OHG. sprehhan (G. sprechen).
Hence speaker (of the House of Commons) XIV; see -ER1.