AskDefine | Define speech

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience; "he listened to an address on minor Roman poets" [syn: address]
2 (language) communication by word of mouth; "his speech was garbled"; "he uttered harsh language"; "he recorded the spoken language of the streets" [syn: speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, language, voice communication, oral communication]
3 something spoken; "he could hear them uttering merry speeches"
4 the exchange of spoken words; "they were perfectly comfortable together without speech"
5 your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally; "his manner of speaking was quite abrupt"; "her speech was barren of southernisms"; "I detected a slight accent in his speech" [syn: manner of speaking, delivery]
6 a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to" [syn: lecture, talking to]
7 words making up the dialogue of a play; "the actor forgot his speech" [syn: actor's line, words]
8 the mental faculty or power of vocal communication; "language sets homo sapiens apart from all other animals" [syn: language]

User Contributed Dictionary



spræc (later: spæc)


  • /ˈspiːtʃ/, /"spi:tS/
  • Rhymes: -iːtʃ


  1. The faculty of speech; the ability to speak or to use vocalizations to communicate.
    It was hard to hear the sounds of his speech over the noise.
  2. A session of speaking; a long oral message given publicly usually by one person.
    The candidate made some ambitious promises in his campaign speech.


vocal communication
an oration, session of speaking
  • Czech: řeč
  • Dutch: toespraak, speech
  • Finnish: puhe
  • French: discours
  • German: Rede, Ansprache
  • Greek: λόγος, ομιλία
  • Hungarian: beszéd
  • Icelandic: ræða, ávarp, tala
  • Italian: discorso
  • Japanese: 演説 (えんぜつ, enzetsu)
  • Lithuanian: prakalba , pranešimas , kalba
  • Portuguese: discurso
  • Russian: речь (reč’) , спич (spič)
  • Slovene: govor
  • Spanish: discurso
  • Swedish: tal
  • Telugu: ఉపన్యాసం (upanyaasam)

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Speech refers to the processes associated with the production and perception of sounds used in spoken language. A number of academic disciplines study speech and speech sounds, including acoustics, psychology, speech pathology, linguistics, and computer science.

Speech production

In linguistics (articulatory phonetics), manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound make contact. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants. For any place of articulation, there may be several manners, and therefore several homorganic consonants.

Speech perception

Speech perception refers to the processes by which humans are able to interpret and understand the sounds used in language. The study of speech perception is closely linked to the fields of phonetics and phonology in linguistics and cognitive psychology and perception in psychology. Research in speech perception seeks to understand how human listeners recognize speech sounds and use this information to understand spoken language. Speech research has applications in building computer systems that can recognize speech, as well as improving speech recognition for hearing- and language-impaired listeners.

Problems involving speech

seealso Speech pathology
There are several biological and psychological factors that can affect speech. Among these are:
  1. Diseases and disorders of the lungs or the vocal cords, including paralysis, respiratory infections, vocal fold nodules and cancers of the lungs and throat.
  2. Diseases and disorders of the brain, including alogia, aphasias, dysarthria, dystonia and speech processing disorders, where impaired motor planning, nerve transmission, phonological processing or perception of the message (as opposed to the actual sound) leads to poor speech production.
  3. Hearing problems, such as otitis media effusion can lead to phonological problems.
  4. Articulatory problems, such as stuttering, lisping, cleft palate, ataxia, or nerve damage leading to problems in articulation. Tourette syndrome and tics can also affect speech.
  5. In addition to aphasias, anomia and certain types of dyslexia can impede the quality of auditory perception, and therefore, expression. Hearing impairments and deafness can be considered to fall into this category.

See also

speech in Estonian: Kõne
speech in English: Speech
speech in Spanish: Habla
speech in Occitan (post 1500): Paraula

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ESP, address, after-dinner speech, alliteration, allocution, allusion, anacoluthon, anadiplosis, analogy, anaphora, anastrophe, answer, answering, antiphrasis, antithesis, antonomasia, apophasis, aporia, aposiopesis, apostrophe, articulated, articulation, blast, bull session, catachresis, chalk talk, chiasmus, chinfest, choice of words, circumlocution, climax, commerce, communicating, communication, communicational, communion, communional, composition, confab, confabulation, congress, connection, contact, conversation, conversational, converse, conversion, correspondence, dealing, dealings, debate, declamation, dialect, dialogue, diatribe, diction, discourse, disquisition, duologue, ecphonesis, elocution, emphasis, enunciated, enunciation, eulogy, exchange, exclamation, exhortation, expression, filibuster, forensic, forensic address, formal speech, formulation, funeral oration, gemination, grammar, harangue, homily, hortatory address, hypallage, hyperbaton, hyperbole, idiom, inaugural, inaugural address, information, interacting, interaction, interactional, interactive, interchange, intercommunication, intercommunicational, intercommunicative, intercommunion, intercommunional, intercourse, interplay, interresponsive, interrogative, interrogatory, invective, inversion, irony, jargon, jeremiad, language, langue, lecture, line, lingo, lingua, lingual, linguistic, linguistic intercourse, litotes, locution, malapropism, meiosis, message, metaphor, metonymy, nuncupative, onomatopoeia, oral, oral communication, oration, oxymoron, palaver, paregmenon, parenthesis, parlance, parley, parol, parole, pep talk, periphrasis, peroration, personal usage, personification, philippic, phrase, phraseology, phrasing, pitch, pleonasm, prepared speech, prepared text, preterition, prolepsis, pronounced, public speech, question-and-answer session, questioning, reading, recital, recitation, regression, repetition, reply, response, responsive, rhetoric, said, sales pitch, sales talk, salutatory, salutatory address, sarcasm, say, screed, sermon, set speech, simile, similitude, social intercourse, song and dance, sounded, speaking, speech circuit, speech situation, speechification, speeching, spiel, spoken, spoonerism, syllepsis, symploce, synecdoche, talk, talkathon, talkfest, talking, telepathic, telepathy, tirade, tongue, touch, traffic, transmissional, trialogue, truck, two-way communication, unwritten, usage, use of words, usus loquendi, utterance, uttered, valediction, valedictory, valedictory address, verbal, verbalization, verbiage, vernacular, viva voce, vocal, vocalization, vocalized, voice, voiced, voiceful, voicing, wordage, wording, words, zeugma
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