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

  • adjective Capable of speech.
  • adjective Involving speaking or talking.
  • adjective Expressive or telling; eloquent.
  • adjective True to life; lifelike.
  • idiom (on speaking terms) Friendly enough to exchange superficial remarks.
  • idiom (on speaking terms) Ready and willing to communicate; not alienated or estranged.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Adapted to inform or impress as if by speech; forcibly expressive or suggestive; animated or vivid in appearance: as, a speaking likeness; speaking gestures.

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

  • noun The act of uttering words.
  • noun Public declamation; oratory.
  • adjective Uttering speech; used for conveying speech
  • adjective Seeming to be capable of speech; hence, lifelike.
  • adjective a slight acquaintance with a person, or one which merely permits the exchange of salutations and remarks on indifferent subjects.
  • adjective an instrument somewhat resembling a trumpet, by which the sound of the human voice may be so intensified as to be conveyed to a great distance.
  • adjective a tube for conveying speech, especially from one room to another at a distance.
  • adjective to be slightly acquainted.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Used in speaking.
  • adjective Expressive; eloquent.
  • adjective Involving speaking.
  • adjective Having the ability of speech.
  • noun One's ability to communicate vocally in a given language.
  • noun The act of communicating vocally.
  • noun An oral recitation of e.g. a story.
  • verb Present participle of speak.

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

  • adjective capable of or involving speech or speaking
  • noun the utterance of intelligible speech
  • noun delivering an address to a public audience


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word speaking.


  • The Organization of Labor "-- [_Left speaking_, says our reporter.]" Left speaking: "alas, that he should have to" speak "so much!

    Latter-Day Pamphlets Thomas Carlyle 1838

  • My difficulty in speaking is to know what you would like to know about my profession as a nautical man.

    The Influence of Modern Weapons Upon Future Warfare 1922

  • She began immediately to make sounds which she called speaking, and I saw the necessity of correct instruction, since her heart was set upon learning to talk; and, feeling my own incompetence to teach her, never having given the subject of articulation serious study, I went with my pupil for advice and assistance, to Miss Sarah Fuller.

    The Story of My Life Keller, Helen, 1880-1968 1903

  • "That is what we call speaking with sound reason," said Nero.

    Quo Vadis: a narrative of the time of Nero Henryk Sienkiewicz 1881

  • "Is that what they call speaking English?" asked Charles.

    Rollo in Rome Jacob Abbott 1841

  • "Very good," said Pompadour, "that is what I call speaking; and if you want any one to give you a helping hand, my dear chevalier, count on me."

    The Conspirators The Chevalier d'Harmental Alexandre Dumas p��re 1836

  • Nothing is more silly than the pleasure some people take in what they call speaking their minds.

    The Young Gentleman and Lady's Monitor, and English Teacher's Assistant John Hamilton Moore 1772

  • I like the concession that the game is cool, but not cool enough to sacrifice a limb for, that's what I call speaking truth to power.

    unknown title 2009

  • Who turned to abolitionism and made her name speaking out against slavery, together with the movement’s major figure, Frederick Douglass.

    American Connections James Burke 2007

  • Who turned to abolitionism and made her name speaking out against slavery, together with the movement’s major figure, Frederick Douglass.

    American Connections James Burke 2007


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • will, want

    July 23, 2009