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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English spekinge, spekynge, spekinde, spekende, spekande, spekand, from Old English specende, sprecende (speaking), from Proto-Germanic *sprekandz (speaking), present participle of Proto-Germanic *sprekaną (to speak). Equivalent to speak +‎ -ing. Cognate with Scots speikand, speikin (speaking), Saterland Frisian spreekend (speaking), West Frisian sprekkend (speaking), Dutch sprekend (speaking), German Low German sprekend (speaking), German sprechend (speaking).


speaking (not comparable)

  1. Used in speaking.
    one's normal speaking voice
  2. Expressive; eloquent.
    The sight was more speaking than any speech could be.
  3. Involving speaking.
    It was her first speaking part: she screamed.
  4. Having the ability of speech.
    speaking parrot; speaking clock
    1. (in compounds) Having competence in a language.
      the English-speaking gentleman gave us directions; I travel in Russian-speaking countries; the French-speaking world listened in to the broadcast

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English speking, spekinge, equivalent to speak +‎ -ing.


speaking (plural speakings)

  1. One's ability to communicate vocally in a given language.
    I can read and understand most texts in German, but my speaking is awful.
  2. The act of communicating vocally.
    • 2011, Jimmie W. Greene, ‎Samuel D. Perry, Bridge Builder (page 50)
      Sometimes, a brawl would erupt, as a result, but, in general, public speakings were peaceful events and essential ingredients for election to office.
  3. An oral recitation of e.g. a story.

Etymology 3[edit]

See the etymology of the main entry.



  1. present participle of speak