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See also: Speech



From Middle English speche, from Old English spǣċ, sprǣċ ‎(speech, discourse, language), from Proto-Germanic *sprēkijō, *sprēkō ‎(speech, language), from Proto-Indo-European *spereg-, *spreg- ‎(to make a sound). Cognate with Dutch spraak ‎(speech), German Sprache ‎(language, speech). More at speak.



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speech ‎(countable and uncountable, plural speeches)

  1. (uncountable) The faculty of uttering articulate sounds or words; the ability to speak or to use vocalizations to communicate.
    It was hard to hear the sounds of his speech over the noise. He had a bad speech impediment.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 12, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      All this was extraordinarily distasteful to Churchill. It was ugly, gross. Never before had he felt such repulsion when the vicar displayed his characteristic bluntness or coarseness of speech. In the present connexion […] such talk had been distressingly out of place.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “chapter XV and XVIII”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
      I was at liberty to attend to Wilbert, who I could see desired speech with me. [...] As far as Bobbie and I were concerned, silence reigned, this novel twist in the scenario having wiped speech from our lips, as the expression is, but Phyllis continued vocal. [...] For perhaps a quarter of a minute after he had passed from the scene the aged relative stood struggling for utterance. At the end of this period she found speech. “Of all the damn silly fatheaded things!”
  2. (countable) A session of speaking; a long oral message given publicly usually by one person.
    The candidate made some ambitious promises in his campaign speech.
    • Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)
      The constant design of these orators, in all their speeches, was to drive some one particular point.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “chapter I and XII”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
      He's going to present the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School. We've been caught short as usual, and somebody has got to make a speech on ideals and the great world outside to those blasted boys, so he fits in nicely. I believe he's a very fine speaker. His only trouble is that he's stymied unless he has his speech with him and can read it. Calls it referring to his notes. [...] “So that's why he's been going about looking like a dead fish. I suppose Roberta broke the engagement?” “In a speech lasting five minutes without a pause for breath.”
  3. A style of speaking.
    Her speech was soft and lilting.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8884:
      Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese, a silvery metal, began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated.
  4. A dialect or language.
    • Bible, Ezekiel iii. 6
      people of a strange speech
  5. Talk; mention; rumour.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      The duke [] did of me demand / What was the speech among the Londoners / Concerning the French journey.

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Most common English words before 1923: allow · spent · soldiers · #877: speech · fast · middle · effort





Borrowing from English speech.


speech m ‎(plural speechen or speeches, diminutive speechje n)

  1. speech