Definition of say in US English:

say

verb

  • 1reporting verb Utter words so as to convey information, an opinion, a feeling or intention, or an instruction.

    with direct speech ‘“Thank you,” he said’
    with clause ‘he said the fund stood at $100,000’
    with object ‘our parents wouldn't believe a word we said’
    with infinitive ‘he said to come early’
    • ‘The other cases were still under investigation with several suspects being charged, a police spokesperson said on Thursday.’
    • ‘She says that her parents have always been supportive of her and offer advice that is always seriously considered.’
    • ‘However, she was confident he would be found innocent, her spokesperson said on Thursday.’
    • ‘All of us at some time in our lives have to stand up and say a few words in public, whether to give away a bride, move a vote of thanks or make a presentation.’
    • ‘Farrell says that many single parents welcome being able to share the work of caring for a child.’
    • ‘Yet despite reassuring figures, respondents said in interviews that big concerns remained.’
    • ‘The opposition is pending before the trademark office's trial and appeal board, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.’
    • ‘It's quiet enough that she can hear every word Jared says back to me.’
    • ‘I don't trust my boyfriend, I don't believe a word he says, and I honestly believe he is cheating on me.’
    • ‘"Nice shot, " Kristin said sarcastically with a grin.’
    • ‘He struggled to recall clearly the words the priest had said to him almost a year earlier.’
    • ‘Most parents today would say that their kids have greater opportunities than they did.’
    • ‘Every word of what Natwar says in praise of Indira Gandhi is absolutely true.’
    • ‘Only now as I stood in the airport did I realise that she really had not understood a word I was saying.’
    • ‘She's sitting on the floor, seeming more and more downcast at every word John says.’
    • ‘He puts more feeling into the few words he says than he has ever done on screen before.’
    • ‘The requirement was stipulated in his bail conditions, a top prosecutor said on Tuesday.’
    • ‘He said that the most likely diagnosis of her condition was chronic tenosynoritis or tendonitis.’
    • ‘Ask an average person in Mumbai their opinion on this issue, and they are likely to say that it is a non-issue.’
    • ‘At 28, Hussain now feels the pressure to marry, but stalls his parents by saying that he is not ready.’
    speak, utter, voice, pronounce, give utterance to, give voice to, vocalize
    declare, state, announce
    claim, maintain, assert, hold, insist, contend, aver, affirm, avow
    express, put into words, phrase, articulate, communicate, make known, get across, put across, convey, verbalize, render, tell
    adduce, propose, advance, bring forward, offer, plead
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a text or a symbolic representation) convey specified information or instructions.
      with clause ‘the law says such behavior is an offense’
      • ‘The book says nothing about relations between the government and Aborigines in New South Wales.’
      • ‘Within one month of receiving the hike notice, send your landlord a letter saying you do not intend to renew your lease and then move out.’
      • ‘Even though the liner notes may say otherwise, very few of the songs feature him alone.’
      • ‘Then I paid for my ticket a week and a half late, and I got a letter in the mail saying that I had to pay another fee for being late.’
      • ‘The last time I heard from you was years ago when I got a letter saying you were stopping publication.’
      • ‘One New Zealand guide book says that there is little at Hororata but a fine stone church.’
      • ‘She left a note saying she was going to the house that night to kill her father.’
      • ‘His personal website says that he succeeded in having previous plans for an incinerator scrapped.’
      • ‘The text of the affidavit says that it was completed and signed by her.’
      • ‘Think about all the articles in magazines saying guys care as much about their appearance as girls do.’
      • ‘I got a text saying I had won £1000 and all I had to do was claim it by calling a number.’
      • ‘One of my notes here says that you're recognized in public a lot now?’
      • ‘The textbook says that there should be perfect information for the market to equilibrate.’
      • ‘Chris, in a murder case we know the black and white letter of the law says the state does not have to prove motive.’
      • ‘The article says that Eric will help educate children about the dangers of the internet.’
      • ‘When I got the letter in the mail saying they wanted me to join the cast, there was no doubt in my mind.’
      • ‘Write them a letter saying you want all your information removed from their system.’
      • ‘The only clue he can find is a newspaper headline saying that the city has been evacuated.’
      • ‘He could not say anything beyond what the letter said when I sought more information from him.’
      • ‘Over the weekend the Sunday Times wrote an article saying people shouldn't rely on buy-to-let to finance their old age.’
    2. 1.2with object Enable a listener or reader to learn or understand something by conveying or revealing (information or ideas)
      ‘I don't want to say too much’
      figurative ‘the movie's title says it all’
      • ‘The title says it all, because this is certainly a lot less dangerous.’
      • ‘However, the film also says that it is possible to find hope, if we have the courage to find it.’
      • ‘Our politicians just use nicer words to say essentially the same things.’
      • ‘This chapter will say more about it, though it won't go into great detail.’
      • ‘She says more in twenty-five words than many writers do in a thousand.’
      • ‘There is something privileged about the author's understanding of what the text says.’
      • ‘This is arguably the most persuasive riposte to the erroneous notion that Western cinema says it all.’
    3. 1.3with object (of a clock or watch) indicate (a specified time)
      ‘the clock says ten past two’
      • ‘The sun was still behind a mountain, but his watch said seven minutes past official sunup.’
      • ‘She turns and looks at her alarm clock which says eight o'clock.’
      • ‘My back was damp from the moss and my watch said four hours had passed.’
      indicate, show, read
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4be said Be asserted or reported (often used to avoid committing the speaker or writer to the truth of the assertion)
      with infinitive ‘they were said to be training freedom fighters’
      with clause ‘it is said that she lived to be over a hundred’
      • ‘This sovereign power is attributed to hate speech when it is said to deprive us of rights and liberties.’
      • ‘Our constitution is said to enshrine the idea of Parliamentary Government.’
      • ‘I do not think that the conduct of the Inspectors towards Mr Clegg taken as a whole can be said to be unfair.’
      • ‘They also adduced what was said to be a report from the local Meteorological Station.’
      • ‘The author of the report that was said to be prejudicial was called as a witness.’
      • ‘It is your life as a whole which is said to be happy or not, and so discussions of happiness are discussions of the happy life.’
      • ‘This winged beast with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle is said to watch over hidden treasures.’
      • ‘It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die.’
      • ‘His failure, it is said, calls into question his motives in serving as a juror in the trial.’
      • ‘A few months ago it was said that putting milk into black tea voids any health benefits.’
      • ‘Thus, do you think it can be said that their speech is not free at all?’
      • ‘Under domestication, it may be truly said that the whole organisation becomes in some degree plastic.’
      be reported, be thought, be believed, be alleged, be rumoured, be reputed, be put about
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5say something forwith object Present a consideration in favor of or excusing (someone or something)
      ‘all I can say for him is that he's a better writer than some’
      • ‘Looking forward, he hopes the weather improves but says the prospects for milk prices don't look good.’
      • ‘Well, there is something to be said for watching a film on a 30 foot tall screen with surround sound.’
      • ‘Well, it says a lot for a man in his early twenties to be able to give a voice to that indescribable pain that every adolescent girl experiences.’
    6. 1.6with object Utter the whole of (a speech or other set of words, typically one learned in advance)
      ‘we say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning’
      • ‘The funeral goes as planned, everyone says their speeches memorializing this woman to whom they now say goodbye forever.’
      • ‘He was talking to me, and I was trying to say my speech, but he wasn't paying attention.’
      • ‘I stand motionless and distant as the priest says his speech.’
      • ‘See, the difference between saying a speech in class and acting with my group is a really big one.’
      • ‘Cameron had to say his speech in front of the class and he basically freaked out.’
      • ‘The Friday sermon is said by a khatib, many of whom are trained in religious institutes.’
      recite, repeat, utter, deliver, perform, declaim, orate
      View synonyms
  • 2with clause Assume something in order to work out what its consequences would be; make a hypothesis.

    ‘let's say we pay five thousand dollars in the first year’
    suppose, assume, imagine, presume, take as a hypothesis, hypothesize, postulate, posit
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Used parenthetically to indicate that something is being suggested as possible or likely but not certain.
      ‘the form might include, say, a dozen questions’
      • ‘Then go find someone else in a different line of work - say, someone with a home office.’
      • ‘How would you feel if you slipped up and, say, wiped out half of your pot just a few years before you planned to retire?’
      • ‘I don't expect to keep all five vows but, say, three out of five would be good enough.’
      • ‘In this system, the taoiseach would be elected for a fixed term - say, four years.’
      • ‘Mr. Lander's inconsistency between this item and, say, the cupboards, is noteworthy.’
      • ‘The delving is sometimes made easier by not taking much food along - say, only a bag of almonds and a bottle of rum.’
      • ‘This scheme lends itself to the use of coins as scoring tokens; say, a nickel per point perhaps.’

exclamation

North American
informal
  • Used to express surprise or to draw attention to a remark or question.

    ‘say, did you notice any blood?’

noun

  • 1An opportunity for stating one's opinion or feelings.

    ‘the voters are entitled to have their say on the treaty’
    • ‘There will be a chance for listeners to have their say on the big match by texting or emailing the show.’
    • ‘Today the Bolton Evening News gives the party leaders their say on the issues.’
    • ‘She was just happy to have the last say after another round of arguing with Matt.’
    • ‘That means readers have less two months to have their say on which hotels in the region are the best.’
    • ‘You probably don't think so right now but getting to have your say with your Dad will make you feel better in the long run.’
    • ‘Speaking as a politician at any venue is merely an opportunity for that man to have his say.’
    • ‘Why not have your say over on the discussion board?’
    • ‘Viewers who want to have their say or put a question to the studio guests can call in.’
    • ‘We realize that more and more, artists are there to have their say, and we saw it during the American election.’
    • ‘Listeners to radio will also be given an opportunity to have their say through phone-ins.’
    • ‘And if you want to have your say, exchange ideas, opinions and experiences, it's the only place to be.’
    • ‘I wanted to cast her that second, but had to wait for some of the other producers to have their say.’
    • ‘During the show, Radio Phoenix will be giving a chance to fans to have their say on the show.’
    • ‘Voters can also have their say by email, via post or in face to face meetings with local politicians.’
    • ‘Presumably he had responded to the programme and asked to have his say.’
    • ‘Kara decided just to sit there nursing her cold tea and just let him have his say first.’
    • ‘The TV programme is offering Berkshire people the chance to have their say on camera.’
    • ‘With her brother or without him, she was going to see Robert Harvey and she was going to have her say.’
    • ‘Hushed chatter becomes louder as everyone wants to have their say at the same time.’
    • ‘The purpose of the debate is to give local people a chance to have their say on how the money should be spent.’
    chance to speak, right to speak, turn to speak, chance to express one's opinion, right to express one's opinion, turn to express one's opinion, vote, opinion, view, voice
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An opportunity to influence developments and policy.
      ‘the assessor will have a say in how the money is spent’
      ‘the households concerned would still have some say in what happened’
      • ‘Lastly, keep in mind that children like variation and to have a say in what they do.’
      • ‘In the small, slave-owning and warlike Greek republics, all free men had a say in government.’
      • ‘Well, surely equal worth means an equal say in the decisions that affect the entire human race.’
      • ‘Government should not have a say in the way we raise our children or dust our shelves.’
      • ‘The funding cuts to education are to make it easier for private companies to have a say in public education.’
      • ‘Can you also explain why Industry has a say in policy development.’
      • ‘The US Federal Aviation Authority would have a final say on the matter in the US.’
      • ‘It is French law that if you are the author then you have the final say in what the finished article will look like.’
      • ‘The Garda press office said the Garda authorities had no say in deciding where the case was to be dealt with.’
      • ‘It is now sinking in that we will lose a degree of sovereignty and that our partners will have a say in our internal affairs.’
      • ‘Real partnership means all participants benefit and all have a say in developments.’
      • ‘How will dollarized nations react to a U.S. monetary policy over which they have no say?’
      • ‘Illness took men in such numbers that luck had a great say in who was successful.’
      • ‘This implies that national central banks have an important say in monetary policy decisions.’
      • ‘The government believed that the army had too much say in politics and determined to reduce its influence.’
      • ‘I mean, do you really want the government to have a say in how the internet is run?’
      • ‘But the problem is, we give these people a say in the running of our country.’
      • ‘And local residents should have a bigger say in government decision making and in planning the city's future.’
      • ‘Whatever the results of the consultation, politicians will still have the final say on policy formation.’
      • ‘Most other nations have a form of proportional representation, which attempts to give everyone a say.’
      influence, sway, weight, authority, voice, input, share, part
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • go without saying

    • Be obvious.

      ‘it goes without saying that teachers must be selected with care’
      • ‘But it goes without saying that bridges can be conduits of benign or malignant cargoes.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that very few of these people have any specialized knowledge of African art history.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that the sub-genre of rock opera lies uneasily within the larger categories of opera and rock music.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that eating these foods to replace every meal is not a good idea.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that medicine has also seen some fantastic innovation during the last 20 years.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that we must maintain the solid defensive standard that we set last season.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that there is zero tolerance for public drunkenness at this show.’
      • ‘And, of course, it goes without saying that you don't have to get drunk to enjoy the games.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that, should this bill pass, the rate of organ donation will skyrocket in our province.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that sampling some foie gras is practically mandatory.’
  • have something to say for oneself

    • Contribute to a conversation or discussion, especially as an explanation for one's behavior or actions.

      ‘haven't you anything to say for yourself?’
      • ‘He'll have something to say for himself, I can tell you.’
      • ‘Like thousands of other people across webland, I've fancied starting a weblog for a while now, but only held back due to not really having a lot to say for myself.’
      • ‘They have well-paid careers, are more in charge and have a lot to say for themselves.’
  • how say you?

    • How do you find? (addressed to the jury when requesting its verdict).

  • I (or he, she, etc.) cannot (or could not) say

    • I (or he, she, etc.) do not know.

      • ‘Whether this is a good or bad thing, I cannot say.’
      • ‘Ashley suddenly felt herself tense, though she could not say why.’
      • ‘She did not test the stain so she could not say what the material was.’
      • ‘He said the four doors of the ill-fated coach were bolted though he could not say whether they were closed from inside or outside.’
      • ‘At this stage he cannot say if he will produce any more music, but if inspiration strikes, who knows.’
      • ‘Whether the EU matches its efforts in that direction with a concomitant effort towards educating its own peoples I cannot say.’
      • ‘When Anne had left that day, Catherine had felt like sobbing, and she could not say why.’
      • ‘She had won in the end, although she could not say how.’
      • ‘Yes, well I cannot say whether the method was correct, I'm not a law enforcement expert.’
      • ‘He thinks he got a touch of the ball but everything was happening in a blur and he cannot say for certain.’
  • I'll say

    • informal Used to express emphatic agreement.

      ‘“That was a good landing.” “I'll say!”’
  • I must (or have to) say

    • I cannot refrain from saying (used to emphasize an opinion)

      ‘you have a nerve, I must say!’
      • ‘I have to say, though, that their album is the most appropriately titled album that I can think of.’
      • ‘However, I must say all the actors did a superb job in bringing their characters to life.’
      • ‘I have to say that in general, the English do a much better job of translating books to film.’
      • ‘I really enjoyed this movie and would have to say that it was one of the best I have ever seen.’
      • ‘I have to say that the level of feedback over the course of the show was a bit excessive.’
      • ‘Although he makes some very good points, I must say that I disagree with a few things he said.’
      • ‘Again, I have to say that such evidence obtained in this way is, in my judgment, of little or no value.’
      • ‘They taste a bit funny, I must say, but still the sensation of real vitamins flowing through my system is welcome.’
      • ‘Having just seen the preview for the extended version, I have to say that it looks very cool indeed.’
      • ‘I have to say, though, that as fond as I am of the show, I've not seen it for a while.’
  • I say

    • 1Used to offer a suggestion or opinion.

      ‘I say we go back down together’
      • ‘I say we begin with what we know are the positive purposes of the day.’
      • ‘I say we split up and somebody stays here with the sick one and somebody comes with me to the bank.’
      • ‘Some of you sales folks out there will probably swear up and down that this works, but I say it doesn't.’
      • ‘I say it's nothing more than desperate attempts for votes this election year season.’
      • ‘I say it doesn't matter what type of voting apparatus is used here or in any other state.’
      • ‘I say we made some real blunders.’
      • ‘I say she is being silly and is only complaining because she did not really want to come to Bath in the first place.’
    • 2Used to express surprise or to draw attention to a remark.

      ‘I say, that's a bit much!’
  • I wouldn't say no

    • informal Used to indicate that one would like something.

      • ‘Well I've had a few rums, but I wouldn't say no.’
      • ‘The diet industry is, after all, worth many billions of pounds every year and I wouldn't say no to a slice of that, for want of a better word, pie.’
      • ‘All I said was that, if the he was hit with an injury crisis that robbed him of all his strikers and so came to me to fill-in for one game, I wouldn't say no.’
      • ‘Although right now, if someone were to offer me a plump chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto and smokey fontina cheese smothered in a crimini and heavy cream sauce, I wouldn't say no.’
      • ‘Over all the team looks tired and I wouldn't say no to a complete generational change.’
      • ‘I wouldn't say no if someone wanted to bake me this cake.’
      • ‘Of course, if someone wanted to give me a book contract, I wouldn't say no.’
      • ‘All I'm saying is that I wouldn't say no to a piece of chocolate cake.’
      • ‘I wouldn't say no to chocolate, especially in brownie form, right now either.’
  • not to say

    • Used to introduce a stronger alternative or addition to something already said.

      ‘it is easy to become sensitive, not to say paranoid’
      • ‘Were anyone to make such claims nowadays, they would be treated with considerable reserve, not to say great scepticism.’
      • ‘Emma is content, not to say downright pleased with herself.’
      • ‘This was a stroke of extraordinary boldness, not to say foolhardiness.’
      • ‘Both these features seem to be reflected , not to say magnified, by Kierkegaard's own account of the moral point of view.’
      • ‘That is a very common term, is it not, Mr Garling , not to say almost universal.’
      • ‘This kind of thinking seems totally wrong, not to say idiotic.’
      • ‘Indeed, that trade improves welfare is practically a truism, not to say an article of faith.’
      • ‘Writing a history for this Photograph is obviously a crucial, not to say daunting, task.’
      • ‘In the United States each system had its determined, not to say bigoted, supporters.’
      • ‘It seems very uncomfortable , not to say distressing.’
  • say no more

    • informal Used to indicate that one understands what someone is trying to imply.

  • says you!

    • informal Used in speech to express disagreement or disbelief.

      ‘“He's guilty.” “Says you! I think he's innocent.”’
  • say when

    • informal Said when helping someone to food or drink to instruct them to indicate when they have enough.

      • ‘When it comes to work, a lot of us have a little problem: we don't know when to say when.’
  • say the word

    • Give permission or instructions to do something.

      • ‘Well, I suppose they were waiting for you to say the word, but it seems like they're already willing to go.’
      • ‘I'll ignore my father's wishes for you, Tristan - just say the word and I won't marry Philip.’
      • ‘‘It's not far from here, but if you get tired, just say the word and I can carry you!’’
      • ‘The minute he says the word, the throne is yours.’
      • ‘Look, Trista, if you don't want me to be here then just say the word.’
      • ‘Whenever you have had enough, just say the word.’
      • ‘Just say the word and I'll open this door, beginning an incredible journey full of mystery, excitement, ninjas, laser guns, and sights that no man has ever seen.’
      • ‘And if there is anything else I can help you with, just say the word.’
      • ‘When you feel it's the right time to go home, just say the word.’
      • ‘All you have to do is say the word, Alan, and you'll have the party's support.’
  • there is no saying

    • It is impossible to know.

      • ‘There is no saying what the effects might be: they might conceivably transform the world.’
      • ‘But as France on Friday expertly outflanked the British on agriculture reform, to protect its subsidised farming sector, there is no saying it will not do so again on fish.’
      • ‘And if she finds our hospitals Victorian, there is no saying what she might make of the atmosphere in some of England's most respected public schools, where discipline is often as heavily emphasised as education.’
      • ‘And although Scotland occasionally leads in negotiations in Brussels, there is no saying how well recognised that is by partner countries which can exploit the UK's ambiguous position.’
  • they say

    • It is rumored.

      • ‘Cultural neglect, they say, reflects social neglect, and it becomes a vicious circle.’
      • ‘It's true what they say, a little adversity can turn a city of strangers into a small town.’
      • ‘Well you know what they say about some people having more money than sense.’
      • ‘Like they say, there are stranger things in heaven and earth than we can imagine.’
      • ‘Undoubtedly, they say, new technology will mean big changes in the ways films are watched and made.’
      • ‘Both have company pensions, but buying abroad is something anyone can do, they say.’
      • ‘But all good things come to those who wait, so they say, and now that wait is over.’
      • ‘Somewhere in the world, so they say, there's a perfect love match for everyone.’
      • ‘A room either has style or it doesn't and they say you either have style or you don't.’
      • ‘As they say, you can take the girl out of India but you can't take India out of the girl.’
      be reported, be thought, be believed, be alleged, be rumoured, be reputed, be put about
      View synonyms
  • to say nothing of

    • Used to introduce an additional fact or point that reinforces the point being made.

      ‘they were left with this ridiculously inadequate amount for food, to say nothing of other necessaries’
  • what do (or would) you say

    • Used to make a suggestion or offer.

      ‘what do you say to a glass of wine?’
      • ‘What would you say to a new record from the band?’
      • ‘Liza, what would you say to leaving this business behind?’
      • ‘What would you say to a glass of beer, Norm?’
      • ‘What would you say to a nice cup of tea?’
  • when all is said and done

    • When everything is taken into account (used to indicate that one is making a generalized judgment about a situation).

      • ‘The punters understand that when all is said and done, it doesn't really matter who wins or loses.’
      • ‘The death of someone at the age of 101 is, when all is said and done, hardly a tragedy, and hardly unexpected.’
      • ‘It's kind of hard when you have to look and watch every dime that you make and difficult knowing that when all is said and done at the end of the day, you're just not going to have enough money.’
      • ‘But when all is said and done, we have been blessed with one great big and beautiful country of which we can all be proud.’
      • ‘Of course, there are lots of other minor arguments on the issue, but when all is said and done, it all comes back to the issue of progressive cultures vs. primitive cultures.’
      • ‘But when all is said and done, Moore is a millionaire, and the success of this movie will move him even further up the ladder.’
      • ‘It's at a point like this when the author poses himself the question: when all is said and done what good has come from this tragedy?’
      • ‘Through her experiences, the main character realises that when all is said and done, she can only rely on herself.’
      • ‘But when all is said and done, so long as the couple care for each other, and are committed to making their partnership work, then the question of whether to marry or not should be entirely up to them.’
      • ‘But, when all is said and done, if even a hint of doubt remains about your offering, your audience will go somewhere that eliminates that doubt.’
      fundamentally, primarily, principally, chiefly, essentially, elementally, firstly, predominantly
      View synonyms
  • you can say that again!

    • informal Used in spoken English to express emphatic agreement.

      • ‘Jesse cocked his head to one side, muttering, ‘you can say that again’.’
      • ‘He said of his book that it is ‘philosophy as it has never been seen before’ - to which the only possible short reply is ‘man, you can say that again’.’
      • ‘It's not something we can predict too far in advance. You can say that again.’
      • ‘‘It is unbelievable that we won’ - yeah, you can say that again.’
      • ‘‘Are you guys all right? I know that wasn't the smoothest car ride.’ ‘You can say that again,‘I said, my toe still throbbing.’
  • you don't say!

    • informal Used to express amazement or disbelief.

      really?, is that so? is that a fact? you're joking! well i never, well i never did, go on, you don't say
      View synonyms
  • you (or you've) said it!

    • informal Used to express the feeling that someone's words are true or appropriate.

Origin

Old English secgan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zeggen and German sagen.

Pronunciation

say

/sā//seɪ/