- 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.
Origin of speech
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- the act or faculty of speaking, esp as possessed by personsto have speech with somebody
- (as modifier)speech therapy
- that which is spoken; utterance
- a talk or address delivered to an audience
- a person's characteristic manner of speaking
- a national or regional language or dialect
- linguistics another word for parole (def. 5)
Word Origin and History for self-speech
Old English spæc "act of speaking, manner of speaking, formal utterance," variant of spræc, related to sprecan, specan "to speak" (see speak), from Proto-Germanic *sprækijo (cf. German Sprache "speech"). The spr- forms were extinct in English by 1200. Meaning "address delivered to an audience" first recorded 1580s. Speechify "talk in a pompous, pontifical way" first recorded 1723.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink
Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
Will risk t' other half for the freedom to speak,
Caring naught for what vengeance the mob has in store,
Let that mob be the upper ten thousand or lower.
[James Russell Lowell, "A Fable for Critics," 1848]
- The faculty or act of expressing thoughts, feelings, or perceptions by the articulation of words.
- Vocal communication; conversation.