Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To deliver a formal recitation, especially as an exercise in rhetoric or elocution.
  • intransitive v. To speak loudly and vehemently; inveigh.
  • transitive v. To utter or recite with rhetorical effect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To object to something vociferously; to rail against in speech.
  • v. To recite, e.g., poetry, in a theatrical way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To speak rhetorically; to make a formal speech or oration; to harangue; specifically, to recite a speech, poem, etc., in public as a rhetorical exercise; to practice public speaking.
  • intransitive v. To speak for rhetorical display; to speak pompously, noisily, or theatrically; to make an empty speech; to rehearse trite arguments in debate; to rant.
  • transitive v. To utter in public; to deliver in a rhetorical or set manner.
  • transitive v. To defend by declamation; to advocate loudly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a formal speech or oration; harangue.
  • To speak or write for rhetorical effect; speak or write pompously or elaborately, without earnestness of purpose, sincerity, or sound argument; rant.
  • To repeat a select piece of prose or poetry in public, as an exercise in oratory or to exhibit skill in elocution.
  • To utter or deliver in public in a rhetorical or oratorical manner.
  • To speak as an exercise in elocution: as, he declaimed Mark Antony's speech.
  • 3. To maintain or advocate oratorically.
  • To speak against; cry down; decry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. speak against in an impassioned manner
  • v. recite in elocution

Etymologies

Middle English declamen, from Latin dēclāmāre : dē-, intensive pref.; see de- + clāmāre, to cry out; see kelə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dēclāmō. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "There's a fierce gray bird with a bending beak," that the boys loved so dearly to "declaim;" and another poem by this last author, which we all liked to read, partly from a childish love of the tragic, and partly for its graphic description of an avalanche's movement: --

    A New England girlhood, outlined from memory (Beverly, MA)

  • From the latter, there are some who pretend to be free: they are generally such as declaim against the lust of wealth and power, because they have never been able to attain any high degree in either: they boast of generosity and feeling.

    The Man of Feeling

  • Only Thor's evil brother, Loki Tom Hiddleston, gets to declaim any flavorsome lines.

    'Thor': A Vehicle of Low Norsepower

  • SCOTT SIMON, host: In Washington, D.C. this week, something happened just a few blocks from Congress, where politicians debate and declaim about illegal immigrants.

    Anonymous Hero Showed American Spirit

  • Nay, the members of a union will declaim in impassioned rhetoric for the God-given right of an eight-hour day, and at the time be working their own business against seventeen hours out of the twenty-four.

    THE SCAB

  • Boehner says that whoever runs against Obama will have to want to make a smaller government and love America, but not love America in a way that forces Boehner to say, "I take him at his word that he loves America," rather, one that makes Boehner declaim with certainty, "He loves America."

    TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

  • As theater, it offers some exceptional monologues and just as many opportunities for actors to declaim their speeches rather than perform them.

    Michael Giltz: Theater: The Normal Heart Still Burns

  • This observation contradicts both common sense and the collective wisdom of teachers and preachers, who declaim that we fear—and sometimes should fear—the “other,” the dangerous stranger.

    Bloodlust

  • No, it is typically some über-master (2010: Michael Chabon) who must at all times, in front of apprentices, declaim modesty and commitment to the common religion.

    Anis Shivani: Creative Writing Programs: Is The MFA System Corrupt And Undemocratic?

  • No, it is typically some über-master (2010: Michael Chabon) who must at all times, in front of apprentices, declaim modesty and commitment to the common religion.

    Anis Shivani: Creative Writing Programs: Is The MFA System Corrupt And Undemocratic?

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