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From Middle French declamer, from Latin dēclāmō.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈkleɪm/
  • (file)


declaim (third-person singular simple present declaims, present participle declaiming, simple past and past participle declaimed)

  1. To object to something vociferously; to rail against in speech.
  2. To recite, e.g., poetry, in a theatrical way; to speak for rhetorical display; to speak pompously, noisily, or theatrically; bemouth; to make an empty speech; to rehearse trite arguments in debate; to rant.
    • 1834–1874, George Bancroft, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent, volume (please specify |volume=I to X), Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company [et al.], →OCLC:
      Grenville seized the opportunity to declaim on the repeal of the stamp act.
  3. To speak rhetorically; to make a formal speech or oration; specifically, to recite a speech, poem, etc., in public as a rhetorical exercise; to practice public speaking.
    The students declaim twice a week.

Usage notes[edit]

Do not confuse declaim (inveigh against) with disclaim (refuse or disown); thus, the collocation declaim responsibility when meant as "refuse responsibility" is best repaired to become disclaim responsibility.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]