the faculty or power of speaking; oral communication; ability to express one's thoughts and emotions by speech sounds and gesture: Losing her speech made her feel isolated from humanity.
the act of speaking: He expresses himself better in speech than in writing.
something that is spoken; an utterance, remark, or declaration: We waited for some speech that would indicate her true feelings.
a form of communication in spoken language, made by a speaker before an audience for a given purpose: a fiery speech.
any single utterance of an actor in the course of a play, motion picture, etc.
the form of utterance characteristic of a particular people or region; a language or dialect.
manner of speaking, as of a person: Your slovenly speech is holding back your career.
a field of study devoted to the theory and practice of oral communication.
Archaic. rumor.

before 900; Middle English speche, Old English spǣc, variant of sprǣc, derivative of sprecan to speak; cognate with German Sprache

self-speech, noun

1. parlance, parley, conversation, communication. Speech, language refer to the means of communication used by people. Speech is the expression of ideas and thoughts by means of articulate vocal sounds, or the faculty of thus expressing ideas and thoughts. Language is a set of conventional signs, not necessarily articulate or even vocal (any set of signs, signals, or symbols that convey meaning, including written words, may be called language): a spoken language. Thus, language is the set of conventions, and speech is the action of putting these to use: He couldn't understand the speech of the natives because it was in a foreign language. 3. observation, assertion, asseveration, comment, mention, talk. 4. talk, discourse. Speech, address, oration, harangue are terms for a communication to an audience. Speech is the general word, with no implication of kind or length, or whether planned or not. An address is a rather formal, planned speech, appropriate to a particular subject or occasion. An oration is a polished, rhetorical address, given usually on a notable occasion, that employs eloquence and studied methods of delivery. A harangue is a violent, informal speech, often addressed to a casually assembled audience, and intended to arouse strong feeling (sometimes to lead to mob action). 6. tongue, patois.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
speech (spiːtʃ)
1.  a.  the act or faculty of speaking, esp as possessed by persons: to have speech with somebody
 b.  (as modifier): speech therapy
2.  that which is spoken; utterance
3.  a talk or address delivered to an audience
4.  a person's characteristic manner of speaking
5.  a national or regional language or dialect
6.  linguistics another word for parole
[Old English spēc; related to specan to speak]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

O.E. spæc "act of speaking, manner of speaking, formal utterance," variant of spræc, related to sprecan, specan "to speak" (see speak), from P.Gmc. *sprækijo (cf. Ger. Sprache "speech"). The spr- forms were extinct in Eng. by 1200. Meaning "address delivered
to an audience" first recorded 1580s. Speechify "talk in a pompous, pontifical way" first recorded 1723. Speechless "astonished" is attested from late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

speech (spēch)

  1. The faculty or act of expressing thoughts, feelings, or perceptions by the articulation of words.

  2. Vocal communication; conversation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Talk to a speech-communication or theater professor for suggestions.
Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better.
His inaugural speech is also the first to be reprinted in a newspaper.
From now on, it's basically going to be all the free speech that money can buy.
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