[ tawk ]
See synonyms for: talktalkedtalkingtalker on

verb (used without object)
  1. to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking: to talk about poetry.

  2. to consult or confer: Talk with your adviser.

  1. to spread a rumor or tell a confidence; gossip.

  2. to chatter or prate.

  3. to employ speech; perform the act of speaking: to talk very softly; to talk into a microphone.

  4. to deliver a speech, lecture, etc.: The professor talked on the uses of comedy in the tragedies of Shakespeare.

  5. to give or reveal confidential or incriminating information: After a long interrogation, the spy finally talked.

  6. to communicate ideas by means other than speech, as by writing, signs, or signals.

  7. Computers. to transmit data, as between computers or between a computer and a terminal.

  8. to make sounds imitative or suggestive of speech.

verb (used with object)
  1. to express in words; utter: to talk sense.

  2. to use (a specified language or idiom) in speaking or conversing: They talk French together for practice.

  1. to discuss: to talk politics.

  2. 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.

  3. to bring, put, drive, influence, etc., by talk: to talk a person to sleep; to talk a person into doing something.

  1. the act of talking; speech; conversation, especially of a familiar or informal kind.

  2. an informal speech or lecture.

  1. a conference or negotiating session: peace talks.

  2. report or rumor; gossip: There is a lot of talk going around about her.

  3. a subject or occasion of talking, especially of gossip: Your wild escapades are the talk of the neighborhood.

  4. mere empty speech: That's just a lot of talk.

  5. a way of talking: a halting, lisping talk.

  6. language, dialect, or lingo.

  7. signs or sounds imitative or suggestive of speech, as the noise made by loose parts in a mechanism.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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.

  2. talk at,

    • to talk to in a manner that indicates that a response is not expected or wanted.

    • to direct remarks meant for one person to another person present; speak indirectly to.

  1. talk away, to spend or consume (time) in talking: We talked away the tedious hours in the hospital.

  2. talk back, to reply to a command, request, etc., in a rude or disrespectful manner: Her father never allowed them to talk back.

  3. talk down,

    • to overwhelm by force of argument or by loud and persistent talking; subdue by talking.

    • to speak disparagingly of; belittle.

    • 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.

  4. talk down to, to speak condescendingly to; patronize: Children dislike adults who talk down to them.

  5. talk of, to debate as a possibility; discuss: The two companies have been talking of a merger.

  6. talk out,

    • to talk until conversation is exhausted.

    • to attempt to reach a settlement or understanding by discussion: We arrived at a compromise by talking out the problem.

    • British Politics. to thwart the passage of (a bill, motion, etc.) by prolonging discussion until the session of Parliament adjourns.: Compare filibuster (def. 5).

  7. talk over,

    • to weigh in conversation; consider; discuss.

    • to cause (someone) to change an opinion; convince by talking: He became an expert at talking people over to his views.

  8. talk up,

    • to promote interest in; discuss enthusiastically.

    • to speak without hesitation; speak distinctly and openly: If you don't talk up now, you may not get another chance.

Idioms about talk

  1. talk big, Informal. to speak boastingly; brag: He always talked big, but never amounted to anything.

  2. 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.

  1. talk to death,

    • to impede or prevent the passage of (a bill) through filibustering.

    • to talk to incessantly or at great length.

Origin of talk

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English talk(i)en “to converse, speak,” derivative (with -k suffix) of tale “speech, discourse,” tale; cognate with Frisian (eastern dialect) talken

synonym study For talk

1. See speak.

Other words for talk

Other words from talk

  • talk·a·ble, adjective
  • talk·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • talker, noun
  • in·ter·talk, verb (used without object)
  • non·talk·er, noun
  • o·ver·talk, verb
  • un·der·talk, noun
  • un·talk·ing, adjective

Words Nearby talk Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use talk in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for talk


/ (tɔːk) /

  1. (intr; often foll by to or with) to express one's thoughts, feelings, or desires by means of words (to); speak (to)

  2. (intr) to communicate or exchange thoughts by other means: lovers talk with their eyes

  1. (intr usually foll by about) to exchange ideas, pleasantries, or opinions (about): to talk about the weather

  2. (intr) to articulate words; verbalize: his baby can talk

  3. (tr) to give voice to; utter: to talk rubbish

  4. (tr) to hold a conversation about; discuss: to talk business

  5. (intr) to reveal information: the prisoner talked after torture

  6. (tr) to know how to communicate in (a language or idiom): he talks English

  7. (intr) to spread rumours or gossip: we don't want the neighbours to talk

  8. (intr) to make sounds suggestive of talking

  9. (intr) to be effective or persuasive: money talks

  10. now you're talking informal at last you're saying something agreeable

  11. talk big to boast or brag

  12. talk shop to speak about one's work, esp when meeting socially, sometimes with the effect of excluding those not similarly employed

  13. 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 (def. 18b)

  14. you can talk informal you don't have to worry about doing a particular thing yourself

  15. you can't talk informal you yourself are guilty of offending in the very matter you are decrying

  1. a speech or lecture: a talk on ancient Rome

  2. an exchange of ideas or thoughts: a business talk with a colleague

  1. idle chatter, gossip, or rumour: there has been a lot of talk about you two

  2. a subject of conversation; theme: our talk was of war

  3. (often plural) a conference, discussion, or negotiation: talks about a settlement

  4. a specific manner of speaking: children's talk

Origin of talk

C13 talkien to talk; related to Old English talu tale, Frisian talken to talk

Derived forms of talk

  • talkable, adjective
  • talkability, noun
  • talker, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with talk


In addition to the idioms beginning with talk

  • talk around
  • talk at
  • talk back
  • talk big
  • talk dirty
  • talk down
  • talk down to
  • talked out
  • talk into
  • talk of the town, the
  • talk out
  • talk out of
  • talk over
  • talk sense
  • talk shop
  • talk someone's arm off
  • talk through one's hat
  • talk to
  • talk turkey
  • talk up

also see:

  • all talk
  • dirty joke (talk dirty)
  • double talk
  • heart to heart (talk)
  • look who's talking
  • money talks
  • now you're talking
  • small talk
  • straight talk
  • sweet talk

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.