Definition of speaking in US English:



  • 1The action of conveying information or expressing one's thoughts and feelings in spoken language.

    • ‘The eldest member of the crew was the one speaking.’
    • ‘Usually they noticed her presence and ceased speaking.’
    • ‘she turned to look at him in his eyes and stopped speaking.’
    • ‘He would look over at me every time I stopped speaking.’
    • ‘Chrissy continued speaking, but this time, she didn't stutter.’
    • ‘Mono stopped speaking as he read the note further.’
    • ‘They were looking through a book and speaking quietly.’
    • ‘It was very enjoyable speaking with you and I'm looking forward to future discussions.’
    • ‘Sheriff Masters said nothing and continued speaking.’
    • ‘She cleared her throat and tried speaking evenly.’
    • ‘He collapsed back into his seat but continued speaking.’
    • ‘He shifted his position a bit and continued speaking.’
    • ‘Our first time speaking didn't go over all that well.’
    • ‘He demonstrated his impressive intellectual aptitude and capacity for clear speaking, along with some real political savvy.’
    • ‘Jennifer ignored them both and continued speaking.’
    • ‘She self consciously tried speaking in a softer tone.’
    • ‘He stopped speaking, and the silence was deafening.’
    • ‘The middle-aged man continued speaking before I could answer.’
    • ‘Tommy looked at the wall and continued speaking.’
    • ‘Jasmin rolled her eyes and continued speaking.’
    1. 1.1 The activity of delivering speeches or lectures.
      ‘public speaking’
      • ‘Although the physical dangers of public speaking have disappeared these days, the trepidation of that poor message bearer has not.’
      • ‘I do a lot of public speaking on business issues and I was talking to another speaker when he asked what it is I talk about.’
      • ‘Many people suffer from situational shyness - the thought of public speaking is enough to induce stomach butterflies in even the most socially confident.’
      • ‘They practice their public speaking in workshops attended by all.’
      • ‘Most people equate public speaking with public humiliation.’
      • ‘Public speaking was never my strong point.’
      • ‘I hated public speaking, especially for people I didn't know.’
      • ‘He seemed conspicuously stiff at public speaking.’
      • ‘One of the pupils has shown a knack for public speaking.’
      • ‘It should be noted, this gentleman was a professor of public speaking.’
      • ‘Fear of public speaking is one of the greatest fears human beings have.’
      • ‘Isis was a very shy person, with an extreme dislike for public speaking.’
      • ‘Men have a monopoly in public speaking, landowning rights, and religious rituals.’
      • ‘With a degree in business & in public speaking, she was also good with snobby people.’
      • ‘Cannock Chase Council has a protocol relating to public speaking at Planning Control Committee meetings.…’
      • ‘His voice was rich and deep; he was obviously skilled at public speaking.’
      • ‘How will public speaking affect the practice of law?’
      • ‘If you are not a professional charismatic, public speaking is probably not for you.’
      • ‘Why is it that one of our worst fears is public speaking?’
      • ‘Until 1991, publications, radio broadcasts, and public speaking in many non-Turkish languages were legally prohibited.’


  • 1attributive Used for or engaged in speech.

    ‘you have a clear speaking voice’
    • ‘He provided the speaking voice for main character Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas.’
    • ‘There's deliciously crisp Scottish lilt to her speaking voice, which is sadly lost when she sings.’
    • ‘I was thinking of people with good speaking voices.’
    • ‘He straightened out his suit and regained a normal speaking voice.’
    • ‘His dark and splendid speaking voice was both a boon and a welcome bonus.’
    • ‘He has a rich speaking voice and a wonderful deep chuckle.’
    • ‘A traditional telephone converts your speaking voice into what's called ‘analog’ data.’
    • ‘She was starting to miss just hearing her mother's nagging and her Dad's firm speaking voice.’
    • ‘Carradine had a wonderful mellow speaking voice which he uses to good effect in Bluebeard as well as a very expressive face.’
    • ‘They can go on to receive lucrative speaking engagements, big-time jobs in the private sector, and favorable mentions in the history books.’
    • ‘On average, men have lower-pitched speaking voices than women.’
    • ‘She doesn't run in the park as often as she'd like or say yes to every speaking engagement she's asked to do.’
    • ‘His voice was slowly lowering itself back to normal speaking voice.’
    • ‘I'm interested in the speaking voice and its various registers.’
    • ‘She'd invented a character the public loved - a magic voice, a face from Vogue, and a giggly girl-next-door speaking voice.’
    • ‘The sound of his speaking voice hit Eider like an actual physical shock.’
    • ‘Lina has a terrible speaking voice.’
    • ‘When you're booked for a speaking engagement, ask the host if news releases are being sent to the media.’
    • ‘Ronald Reagan had a great speaking voice.’
    • ‘It was about an octave higher than Jake's usual speaking voice.’
    exact, faithful, true to life, authentic, genuine
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    1. 1.1in combination Able to communicate in a specified language.
      ‘an English-speaking guide’
    2. 1.2 Conveying meaning as though in words.
      ‘she gave him a speaking look’
      meaningful, significant, pointed, eloquent, expressive, pregnant, telltale, revealing, suggestive
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    3. 1.3 (of a portrait) so like the subject as to seem to be alive and capable of speech.
      ‘a speaking likeness’
      realistic, true to life, representational, faithful, authentic, exact, precise, detailed, vivid, graphic, natural, naturalistic, convincing, undistorted
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  • on speaking terms

    • 1Slightly acquainted.

    • 2Sufficiently friendly to talk to each other.

      ‘she parted from her mother barely on speaking terms’
      • ‘The couple wasn't on speaking terms since the argument.’
      • ‘At least Tierra and her mother were on speaking terms.’
      • ‘It was her fault we were barely on speaking terms.’
      • ‘A week or so ago you two were barely on speaking terms.’
      • ‘Suffice to say, Hailey wasn't on speaking terms with her mother or her brother.’
      • ‘Although Leanne still couldn't forgive her mother, she was on speaking terms again.’
      • ‘Some travelling companions return home barely on speaking terms.’
      • ‘The date didn't work out but now the two of them are barely on speaking terms.’
      • ‘I read somewhere some time that you and your mother had not on speaking terms for quite a few years.’
      • ‘He knows having her here is dangerous, especially since he and I are barely on speaking terms over her.’
  • — speaking

    • Used to indicate the degree of accuracy intended in a statement or the point of view from which it is made.

      ‘broadly speaking, there are three major models for local-central relations’
  • speaking of

    • Used to introduce a statement or question about a topic recently alluded to.

      ‘speaking of cost, can I afford to buy it?’
      • ‘And speaking of Napoléon, his first wife, the Empress Josephine, had a living collection of more than 250 types of roses in her gardens at Malmaison.’
      • ‘Speaking of riding, I want a word with the Dawn about the horses.’
      • ‘Speaking of short, that's exactly what I am.’
      • ‘And speaking of teams overstuffed with midfielders - Tottenham Hotspur appear finally to be moving towards closure on the Jermaine Jenas question.’
      • ‘And speaking of images, we're not done with customizing this client.’
      • ‘So, speaking of Jeff, I take it this means I can tell him he's free to get married now you've found someone else?’
      • ‘Now, speaking of your first mission, would you like to brief me on the exact details?’
      • ‘So speaking of guitars, which one are you bringing to try-outs?’
      • ‘Well, speaking of which, let's not keep him waiting.’
      • ‘And speaking of invisibles planes, where's Wonder Woman's invisible plane?’
      on the subject of, about, concerning, apropos of, with reference to, speaking of, with regard to, with respect to, regarding, as regards, relating to, respecting, in connection with, as for, re
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