the act, utterance, or discourse of a person who speaks.
speakings, literary works composed for recitation, as ancient bardic poetry; oral literature.
that speaks.
used in, suited to, or involving speaking or talking: the speaking voice.
of or pertaining to declamation.
giving information as if by speech: a speaking proof of a thing.
highly expressive: speaking eyes.
lifelike: a speaking likeness.
not on speaking terms, not or no longer in a relationship of open, willing, or ready communication, as because of resentment or estrangement: They had a squabble during the holidays, and now they're not on speaking terms.
on speaking terms,
in a relationship close enough for or limited to friendly superficialities: I don't know the hosts well, but we are certainly on speaking terms.
in a relationship of open, willing, or ready communication: Now that the debt has been settled, I hope you and your partner are on speaking terms again.

1200–50; Middle English; see speak, -ing1, -ing2

speakingly, adverb
speakingness, noun
nonspeaking, adjective
well-speaking, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged


verb (used without object), spoke or (Archaic) spake; spoken or (Archaic) spoke; speaking.
to utter words or articulate sounds with the ordinary voice; talk: He was too ill to speak.
to communicate vocally; mention: to speak to a person of various matters.
to converse: She spoke with him for an hour.
to deliver an address, discourse, etc.: to speak at a meeting.
to make a statement in written or printed words.
to communicate, signify, or disclose by any means; convey significance.
Phonetics. to produce sounds or audible sequences of individual or concatenated sounds of a language, especially through phonation, amplification, and resonance, and through any of a variety of articulatory processes.
(of a computer) to express data or other information audibly by means of an audio response unit.
to emit a sound, as a musical instrument; make a noise or report.
Chiefly British. (of dogs) to bark when ordered.
Fox Hunting. (of a hound or pack) to bay on finding a scent.
verb (used with object), spoke or (Archaic) spake; spoken or (Archaic) spoke; speaking.
to utter vocally and articulately: to speak words of praise.
to express or make known with the voice: to speak the truth.
to declare in writing or printing, or by any means of communication.
to make known, indicate, or reveal.
to use, or be able to use, in oral utterance, as a language: to speak French.
(of a computer) to express or make known (data, prompts, etc.) by means of an audio response unit.
Nautical. to communicate with (a passing vessel) at sea, as by voice or signal: We spoke a whaler on the fourth day at sea.
Archaic. to speak to or with.
Verb phrases
speak for,
to intercede for or recommend; speak in behalf of.
to express or articulate the views of; represent.
to choose or prefer; have reserved for oneself: This item is already spoken for.
speak out, to express one's opinion openly and unreservedly: He was not afraid to speak out when it was something he believed in strongly.
so to speak, to use a manner of speaking; figuratively speaking: We still don't have our heads above water, so to speak.
speak by the book, to say with great authority or precision: I can't speak by the book, but I know this is wrong.
speak well for, to be an indication or reflection of (something commendable); testify admirably to: Her manners speak well for her upbringing.
to speak of, worth mentioning: The country has no mineral resources to speak of.

before 900; Middle English speken, Old English specan, variant of sprecan; cognate with German sprechen (Old High German sprehhan; compare variant spehhan)

speakable, adjective
speakableness, noun
speakably, adverb

1. Speak, converse, talk mean to make vocal sounds, usually for purposes of communication. To speak often implies conveying information and may apply to anything from an informal remark to a scholarly presentation to a formal address: to speak sharply; to speak before Congress. To converse is to exchange ideas with someone by speaking: to converse with a friend. To talk is a close synonym for to speak but usually refers to less formal situations: to talk about the weather; to talk with a friend. 12. pronounce, articulate. 13. say. 15. disclose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To speaking
World English Dictionary
speak (spiːk)
vb (foll by for) , speaks, speaking, spoke, spoken
1.  to make (verbal utterances); utter (words)
2.  to communicate or express (something) in or as if in words: I speak the truth
3.  (intr) to deliver a speech, discourse, etc
4.  (tr) to know how to talk in (a language or dialect): he does not speak German
5.  (intr) to make a characteristic sound: the clock spoke
6.  (intr) (of dogs, esp hounds used in hunting) to give tongue; bark
7.  (tr) nautical to hail and converse or communicate with (another vessel) at sea
8.  (intr) (of a musical instrument) to produce a sound
9.  to be a representative or advocate (of): he speaks for all the members
10.  on speaking terms on good terms; friendly
11.  so to speak in a manner of speaking; as it were
12.  speak one's mind to express one's opinions frankly and plainly
13.  to speak of of a significant or worthwhile nature: we have had no support to speak of
[Old English specan; related to Old High German spehhan, Middle High German spechten to gossip, Middle Dutch speken; see speech]

speaking (ˈspiːkɪŋ)
1.  (prenominal) eloquent, impressive, or striking
2.  a.  able to speak
 b.  (in combination) able to speak a particular language: French-speaking

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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, report"), cognate with L. spargere "to strew" (speech as a "scattering"
of words; see sparse). The -r- began to drop out in Late West Saxon and was gone by mid-12c., perhaps from infl. of Dan. spage "crackle," in a slang sense of "speak" (cf. crack in slang senses having to do with speech, e.g. wisecrack, cracker, all it's cracked up to be). Rare variant forms without -r- also are found in M.Du. (speken) and O.H.G. (spehhan). Not the primary word for "to speak" in O.E. ("Beowulf" prefers maþelian, from mæþel "assembly, council," from root of metan "to meet;" cf. Gk. agoreuo "to speak," originally "speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the rationale and practice of persuasive public speaking. It is immediate in its audience relationships and reactions, but it may also have broad historical repercussions. The orator may become the voice of political or social history.

Learn more about speaking with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Generally speaking, winter squash are for big gardens.
Sea urchins and humans have a remarkable amount in common-genetically speaking.
It could be the start of a new long-term pattern that sees the meadow more in
  sync, seasonally speaking, with down-mountain areas.
The ancient lamprey had a much larger mouth, proportionately speaking, than
  modern lampreys do.
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