American English

Definition of speech noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] speech (on/about something) a formal talk that a person gives to an audience to give/make/deliver a speech on human rights He made the announcement in a speech on television. Several people made speeches at the wedding.
  2. 2[uncountable] the ability to speak I seemed to have lost the power of speech. a speech defect freedom of speech (= the right to say openly what you think)
  3. 3[uncountable] the way in which a particular person speaks Her speech was slurred—she was clearly drunk.
  4. 4[uncountable] the language used when speaking This expression is used mainly in speech, not in writing. speech sounds
  5. 5[countable] a group of lines that an actor speaks in a play in the theater She has the longest speech in the play. see also figure of speech
  6. Thesaurusspeechlecture address talk sermonThese are all words for a talk given to an audience.speech a formal talk given to an audience:Several people made speeches at the wedding.lecture a talk given to a group of people to tell them about a particular subject, often as part of a university or college course:a lecture on the Roman army a course/series of lecturesaddress a formal speech given to an audience:a televised presidential addressspeech or address?A speech can be given on a public or private occasion; an address is always public:He gave an address at the a fairly informal session in which someone tells a group of people about a subject:She gave an interesting talk on her visit to China.sermon a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service:to preach a sermonPatterns a long/short speech/lecture/address/talk/sermon a keynote speech/lecture/address to prepare/give/deliver/hear a(n) speech/lecture/address/talk/sermon to write a speech/sermon to attend/go to a lecture/talkWord Familyspeak verbspeaker nounspeech nounspoken adjective (unspoken)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: speech