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[tawk] /tɔk/
verb (used without object)
to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking:
to talk about poetry.
to consult or confer:
Talk with your adviser.
to spread a rumor or tell a confidence; gossip.
to chatter or prate.
to employ speech; perform the act of speaking:
to talk very softly; to talk into a microphone.
to deliver a speech, lecture, etc.:
The professor talked on the uses of comedy in the tragedies of Shakespeare.
to give or reveal confidential or incriminating information:
After a long interrogation, the spy finally talked.
to communicate ideas by means other than speech, as by writing, signs, or signals.
Computers. to transmit data, as between computers or between a computer and a terminal.
to make sounds imitative or suggestive of speech.
verb (used with object)
to express in words; utter:
to talk sense.
to use (a specified language or idiom) in speaking or conversing:
They talk French together for practice.
to discuss:
to talk politics.
Informal. (used only in progressive tenses) to focus on; signify or mean; talk about:
This isn't a question of a few hundred dollars—we're talking serious money.
to bring, put, drive, influence, etc., by talk:
to talk a person to sleep; to talk a person into doing something.
the act of talking; speech; conversation, especially of a familiar or informal kind.
an informal speech or lecture.
a conference or negotiating session:
peace talks.
report or rumor; gossip:
There is a lot of talk going around about her.
a subject or occasion of talking, especially of gossip:
Your wild escapades are the talk of the neighborhood.
mere empty speech:
That's just a lot of talk.
a way of talking:
a halting, lisping talk.
language, dialect, or lingo.
signs or sounds imitative or suggestive of speech, as the noise made by loose parts in a mechanism.
Verb phrases
talk around, to bring (someone) over to one's way of thinking; persuade:
She sounded adamant over the phone, but I may still be able to talk her around.
talk at,
  1. to talk to in a manner that indicates that a response is not expected or wanted.
  2. to direct remarks meant for one person to another person present; speak indirectly to.
talk away, to spend or consume (time) in talking:
We talked away the tedious hours in the hospital.
talk back, to reply to a command, request, etc., in a rude or disrespectful manner:
Her father never allowed them to talk back.
talk down,
  1. to overwhelm by force of argument or by loud and persistent talking; subdue by talking.
  2. to speak disparagingly of; belittle.
  3. Also, talk in. to give instructions to by radio for a ground-controlled landing, especially to a pilot who is unable to make a conventional landing because of snow, fog, etc.
talk down to, to speak condescendingly to; patronize:
Children dislike adults who talk down to them.
talk of, to debate as a possibility; discuss:
The two companies have been talking of a merger.
talk out,
  1. to talk until conversation is exhausted.
  2. to attempt to reach a settlement or understanding by discussion:
    We arrived at a compromise by talking out the problem.
  3. British Politics. to thwart the passage of (a bill, motion, etc.) by prolonging discussion until the session of Parliament adjourns.
    Compare filibuster (def 5).
talk over,
  1. to weigh in conversation; consider; discuss.
  2. to cause (someone) to change an opinion; convince by talking:
    He became an expert at talking people over to his views.
talk up,
  1. to promote interest in; discuss enthusiastically.
  2. to speak without hesitation; speak distinctly and openly:
    If you don't talk up now, you may not get another chance.
talk big, Informal. to speak boastingly; brag:
He always talked big, but never amounted to anything.
talk someone's head / ear off, to bore or weary someone by excessive talk; talk incessantly:
All I wanted was a chance to read my book, but my seatmate talked my ear off.
talk to death,
  1. to impede or prevent the passage of (a bill) through filibustering.
  2. to talk to incessantly or at great length.
Origin of talk
1175-1225; Middle English talk(i)en to converse, speak, derivative (with -k suffix) of tale speech, discourse, tale; cognate with Frisian (E dial.) talken
Related forms
talkable, adjective
talkability, noun
talker, noun
intertalk, verb (used without object)
nontalker, noun
overtalk, verb
undertalk, noun
untalking, adjective
1. See speak. 4, 20. prattle. 34. discourse. 17. colloquy, dialogue, parley, confabulation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for talk big
Historical Examples
  • What did Mr. Stein mean sending a boy like that to talk big to an old servant?

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • I came to Paris by myself to talk big business with Thomery.

    Messengers of Evil Pierre Souvestre
  • At the conclusion of the talk big Foot stared stolidly at Dan for fully ten seconds.

    For the Liberty of Texas Edward Stratemeyer
  • I may have to talk big, and twelve ounces of lead lend weight to an argument.

    The Message Louis Tracy
  • He drifted to the Temple of Luck, intending to sit easy and smoke a cigar and talk big talk to the evening assembly of brethren.

    Lady Luck Hugh Wiley
  • "You talk big when Zoraida's eyes are not on you," said Kendric.

    Daughter of the Sun Jackson Gregory
  • To-day all sorts of agents and wool-merchants and other trash settle in the town and talk big.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • She used to talk big things about me, and the rest used to laugh at her.

    Mary Marston George MacDonald
  • Screw your chops about, and make faces with both sides of your mouth, then talk big, using the rough words of us gentry.

  • In vain they deny their peril, affect to bluster and talk big; their real alarm peeps through the flimsy cloak of bravado.

British Dictionary definitions for talk big


(intransitive; often foll by to or with) to express one's thoughts, feelings, or desires by means of words (to); speak (to)
(intransitive) to communicate or exchange thoughts by other means: lovers talk with their eyes
(intransitive) usually foll by about. to exchange ideas, pleasantries, or opinions (about): to talk about the weather
(intransitive) to articulate words; verbalize: his baby can talk
(transitive) to give voice to; utter: to talk rubbish
(transitive) to hold a conversation about; discuss: to talk business
(intransitive) to reveal information: the prisoner talked after torture
(transitive) to know how to communicate in (a language or idiom): he talks English
(intransitive) to spread rumours or gossip: we don't want the neighbours to talk
(intransitive) to make sounds suggestive of talking
(intransitive) to be effective or persuasive: money talks
(informal) now you're talking, at last you're saying something agreeable
talk big, to boast or brag
talk shop, to speak about one's work, esp when meeting socially, sometimes with the effect of excluding those not similarly employed
talk the talk, to speak convincingly on a particular subject, showing apparent mastery of its jargon and themes; often used in combination with the expression walk the walk See also walk (sense 18b)
(informal) you can talk, you don't have to worry about doing a particular thing yourself
(informal) you can't talk, you yourself are guilty of offending in the very matter you are decrying
a speech or lecture: a talk on ancient Rome
an exchange of ideas or thoughts: a business talk with a colleague
idle chatter, gossip, or rumour: there has been a lot of talk about you two
a subject of conversation; theme: our talk was of war
(often pl) a conference, discussion, or negotiation: talks about a settlement
a specific manner of speaking: children's talk
Derived Forms
talkable, adjective
talkability, noun
talker, noun
Word Origin
C13 talkien to talk; related to Old English talutale, Frisian talken to talk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for talk big



early 13c., talken, probably a diminutive or frequentative form related to Middle English tale "story," ultimately from the same source as tale (cf. hark from hear, stalk from steal) and replacing that word as a verb. East Frisian has talken "to talk, chatter, whisper." Related: Talked; talking.

To talk shop is from 1854. To talk turkey is from 1824, supposedly from an elaborate joke about a swindled Indian. To talk back "answer impudently or rudely" is from 1869. Phrase talking head is by 1966 in the jargon of television production, "an in-tight closeup of a human head talking on television." In reference to a person who habitually appears on television in talking-head shots (usually a news anchor), by 1970. The phrase is used earlier, in reference to the well-known magic trick (e.g. Senior Wences talking head-in-the-box trick on the "Ed Sullivan Show"), and to actual talking heads in mythology around the world (e.g. Orpheus, Bran).


late 15c., "speech, discourse, conversation," from talk (v.). Meaning "informal lecture or address" is from 1859. Talk of the town first recorded 1620s. Talk show first recorded 1965; talk radio is from 1985.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for talk big

talk a good game

verb phrase

To speak, if not to perform, impressively: These political embarrassments helped to establish that the Clinton people talked a good game but weren't up to the grownup job of governing (1973+)


Related Terms

fish story

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for talk big


total alkalinity
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with talk big

talk big

Brag, boast, as in I don't believe he's ever shot even a duck, but he sure talks big about hunting. This colloquial idiom was first recorded in 1699.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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