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

  • transitive v. To utter aloud; pronounce: The children said, "Good morning.”
  • transitive v. To express in words: Say what's on your mind.
  • transitive v. To state as one's opinion or judgment; declare: I say let's eat out.
  • transitive v. To state as a determination of fact: It's hard to say who is right in this matter.
  • transitive v. To repeat or recite: said grace.
  • transitive v. To report or maintain; allege.
  • transitive v. To indicate; show: The clock says half past two.
  • transitive v. To give nonverbal expression to; signify or embody: It was an act that said "devotion.”
  • transitive v. To suppose; assume: Let's say that you're right.
  • intransitive v. To make a statement; express oneself: The story must be true because the teacher said so.
  • n. A turn or chance to speak: Having had my say, I sat down.
  • n. The right or power to influence or make a decision: Citizens have a say in the councils of government. All I want is some say in the matter.
  • n. Archaic Something said; a statement.
  • adv. Approximately: There were, say, 500 people present.
  • adv. For instance: a woodwind, say an oboe.
  • interj. Used to express surprise or appeal for someone's attention.
  • idiom I say Used preceding an utterance to call attention to it: I say, do you have the time?
  • 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: The yard is a mess, to say nothing of the house.
  • idiom you can say that again Slang Used to express strong agreement with what has just been said.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To pronounce.
  • v. To recite.
  • v. To communicate, either verbally or in writing.
  • v. To indicate in a written form.
  • v. to have a common expression; used in singular passive voice or plural active voice to indicate a rumor or well-known fact.
  • v. Let's say; used to mark an example, supposition or hypothesis.
  • interj. Used to gain one's attention before making an inquiry or suggestion; hey
  • n. One's stated opinion or input into a discussion.
  • n. A type of fine cloth similar to serge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Trial by sample; assay; sample; specimen; smack.
  • n. Tried quality; temper; proof.
  • n. Essay; trial; attempt.
  • n. A kind of silk or satin.
  • n. A delicate kind of serge, or woolen cloth.
  • n. A speech; something said; an expression of opinion; a current story; a maxim or proverb.
  • Saw.
  • intransitive v. To speak; to express an opinion; to make answer; to reply.
  • transitive v. To try; to assay.
  • transitive v. To utter or express in words; to tell; to speak; to declare.
  • transitive v. To repeat; to rehearse; to recite; to pronounce.
  • transitive v. To announce as a decision or opinion; to state positively; to assert; hence, to form an opinion upon; to be sure about; to be determined in mind as to.
  • transitive v. To mention or suggest as an estimate, hypothesis, or approximation; hence, to suppose; -- in the imperative, followed sometimes by the subjunctive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To assay; test.
  • To essay; attempt; endeavor; try.
  • n. What one has to say; a speech; a story; something said; hence, an affirmation; a declaration; a statement.
  • n. Word; assurance.
  • n. A maxim; a saying; a saw.
  • n. Turn to say something, make a proposition, or reply: as, “It is now my say.”
  • n. Assay; trial by sample; sample; taste.
  • n. A cut made in a dead deer in order to find out how fat it is.
  • n. Tried quality; temper; proof.
  • n. In hunting, to make a cut down the belly of a dead deer in order to see how fat it is.
  • n. A kind of silk or satin.
  • n. A kind of serge. In the sixteenth century it seems to have been a fine thin cloth used for outer garments.
  • n. A strainer for milk.
  • n. An obsolete preterit of see.
  • n. In poker, the turn of a player to declare whether or not he will ante.

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

  • v. communicate or express nonverbally
  • v. report or maintain
  • v. speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • n. the chance to speak
  • v. give instructions to or direct somebody to do something with authority
  • v. state as one's opinion or judgement; declare
  • v. utter aloud
  • v. express in words
  • v. recite or repeat a fixed text
  • v. express a supposition
  • v. have or contain a certain wording or form
  • v. indicate


Middle English seien, from Old English secgan; see sekw-3 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle French saie, from Latin saga, plural of sagum ("military cloak"). (Wiktionary)



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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