• IPA: /ˈspiːtʃ/


  1. (uncountable) The faculty of uttering articulate sounds or words; the ability to speak or to use vocalizations to communicate.
    It was hard to hear the sounds of his speech over the noise. He had a bad speech impediment.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “XV and XVIII”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      I was at liberty to attend to Wilbert, who I could see desired speech with me. […] As far as Bobbie and I were concerned, silence reigned, this novel twist in the scenario having wiped speech from our lips, as the expression is, but Phyllis continued vocal. […] For perhaps a quarter of a minute after he had passed from the scene the aged relative stood struggling for utterance. At the end of this period she found speech. “Of all the damn silly fatheaded things!”
  2. (countable) A session of speaking, especially a long oral message given publicly by one person.
    The candidate made some ambitious promises in his campaign speech.
    • RQ
      The constant design of both these orators, in all their speeches, was to drive some one particular point.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “I and XII”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      He's going to present the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School. We've been caught short as usual, and somebody has got to make a speech on ideals and the great world outside to those blasted boys, so he fits in nicely. I believe he's a very fine speaker. His only trouble is that he's stymied unless he has his speech with him and can read it. Calls it referring to his notes. […] “So that's why he's been going about looking like a dead fish. I suppose Roberta broke the engagement?” “In a speech lasting five minutes without a pause for breath.”
  3. A style of speaking.
    Her speech was soft and lilting.
  4. (grammar) Speech reported in writing; see direct speech, reported speech
  5. A dialect or language.
    • Bible, Book of Ezekiel iii. 6
      people of a strange speech
  6. Talk; mention; rumour.
    • 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii]:
      The duke […] did of me demand / What was the speech among the Londoners / Concerning the French journey.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Verb

speech (speeches, present participle speeching; past and past participle speeched)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To make a speech; to harangue.

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