from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To utter aloud; pronounce.
  • intransitive verb To express in words.
  • intransitive verb To state as an opinion or judgment; declare.
  • intransitive verb To state as a determination of fact.
  • intransitive verb To report or maintain; allege.
  • intransitive verb To repeat or recite.
  • intransitive verb To indicate; show.
  • intransitive verb To give nonverbal expression to; signify or embody.
  • intransitive verb To suppose; assume.
  • intransitive verb To make a statement or express an opinion or judgment.
  • noun A turn or chance to speak.
  • noun The right or power to influence or make a decision.
  • noun Archaic Something said; a statement.
  • adverb Approximately.
  • adverb For instance.
  • interjection Used to express surprise or appeal for someone's attention.
  • idiom (I say) Used preceding an utterance to call attention to it.
  • idiom (I say) Used as an exclamation of surprise, delight, or dismay.
  • idiom (that is to say) In other words.
  • idiom (to say nothing of) And there is no need to mention. Used to allude to things that fill out an idea or argument.
  • idiom (you can say that again) Used to express strong agreement with what has just been said.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To assay; test.
  • To essay; attempt; endeavor; try.
  • noun Assay; trial by sample; sample; taste.
  • noun A cut made in a dead deer in order to find out how fat it is.
  • noun Tried quality; temper; proof.
  • noun In hunting, to make a cut down the belly of a dead deer in order to see how fat it is.
  • noun An obsolete preterit of see.
  • noun A kind of serge. In the sixteenth century it seems to have been a fine thin cloth used for outer garments.
  • noun A strainer for milk.
  • noun What one has to say; a speech; a story; something said; hence, an affirmation; a declaration; a statement.
  • noun Word; assurance.
  • noun A maxim; a saying; a saw.
  • noun Turn to say something, make a proposition, or reply: as, “It is now my say.
  • To utter, express, declare, or pronounce in words, either orally or in writing; speak.
  • To tell; make known or utter in words.
  • To recount; repeat; rehearse; recite: as, to say a lesson or one's prayers; to say mass; to say grace.
  • To call; declare or suppose to be.
  • To utter as an opinion; decide; judge and determine.
  • To suppose; assume to be true or correct; take for granted: often in an imperative form, in the sense of ‘let us say,’ ‘we may say,’ ‘we shall say’: as, the number left behind was not great, say only five.
  • To gainsay; contradict; answer.
  • Synonyms Say, Speak, Tell, State. Each of these words has its peculiar idiomatic uses. We speak an oration, and tell a story, but do not say either of them. We say prayers or a lesson, but do not speak or tell them, although the one praying may tell his beads. Say is the most common word before a quotation direct or indirect: Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones” (Gen. ii. 23); “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John i. 8). Tell is often exactly synonymous with say to: as, tell (say to) him that I was called away. Speak draws its meanings from the idea of making audible; tell, from that of communicating. Tell is the only one of these words that may express a command. State is often erroneously used for simply saying: as, he stated that he could not come: state always implies detail, as of reasons, particulars; to state a case is to give it with particularity.
  • To speak; declare; assert; express an opinion: as, so he says.
  • To make answer; reply.
  • noun A kind of silk or satin.
  • noun In poker, the turn of a player to declare whether or not he will ante.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To utter or express in words; to tell; to speak; to declare.
  • transitive verb To repeat; to rehearse; to recite; to pronounce.


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

[Middle English seien, from Old English secgan; see sekw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French saie, from Latin saga, plural of sagum ("military cloak").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English seyen, seggen, from Old English secġan ("to say, speak"), from Proto-Germanic *sagjanan (“to say”), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷ-, *sekʷe-, *skʷē- (“to tell, talk”). Cognate with West Frisian sizze ("to say"), Dutch zeggen ("to say"), German sagen ("to say"), Swedish säga ("to say").


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  • 18. In hunting, to make a cut down the belly of a dead deer in order to see how fat it is. --Century Dictionary

    April 26, 2011