[ speech-lis ]
/ ˈspitʃ lɪs /


temporarily deprived of speech by strong emotion, physical weakness, exhaustion, etc.: speechless with alarm.
characterized by absence or loss of speech: speechless joy.
lacking the faculty of speech; dumb.
not expressed in speech or words: speechless compliments.
refraining from speech.

Nearby words

  1. speech therapy,
  2. speech, freedom of,
  3. speech-reading,
  4. speechify,
  5. speechifying,
  6. speechlessly,
  7. speechmaker,
  8. speechread,
  9. speechreading,
  10. speechway

Origin of speechless

before 1000; Middle English specheles, Old English spǣclēas. See speech, -less

Related formsspeech·less·ly, adverbspeech·less·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for speechless

British Dictionary definitions for speechless


/ (ˈspiːtʃlɪs) /


not able to speak
temporarily deprived of speech
not expressed or able to be expressed in wordsspeechless fear
Derived Formsspeechlessly, adverbspeechlessness, noun

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

Word Origin and History for speechless



Old English spæcleas "permanently mute;" see speech + -less. Meaning "mute by effect of astonishment" is from late 14c. Related: Speechlessly; speechlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper