American English

Definition of talk verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they talk
    he / she / it talks
    past simple talked
    -ing form talking
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    speak to someone
  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to say things; to speak in order to give information or to express feelings, ideas, etc. Stop talking and listen! We talked on the phone for over an hour. talk (to/with somebody) (about somebody/something) Who were you talking to just now? We looked around the school and talked with the principal. Ann and Joe aren't talking to each other right now (= they refuse to speak to each other because they have argued). When they get together, all they talk about is baseball. What are you talking about? (= used when you are surprised, annoyed, and/or worried by something that someone has just said) I don't know what you're talking about (= used to say that you did not do something that someone has accused you of). talk of something Mary is talking of looking for another job. talk yourself + adj. We talked ourselves hoarse, catching up on all the news.
  2. discuss
  3. 2[intransitive, transitive] to discuss something, usually something serious or important This situation can't go on. We need to talk. The two sides in the dispute say they are ready to talk. talk (to/with somebody) (about something) Talk to your doctor if you're still worried. talk something to talk business Thesaurusdiscussionconversation dialogue talk debate consultation chat gossipThese are all words for an occasion when people talk about something.discussion a detailed conversation about something that is considered to be important:Discussions are still taking place between the two countries.conversation a talk, usually a private or informal one, involving two people or a small group; the activity of talking in this way:a telephone conversationdialogue conversations in a book, play, or movie:The novel has long descriptions and not much dialogue.A dialogue is also a formal discussion between two groups, especially when they are trying to solve a problem or end a dispute:The leaders engaged in a constructive dialogue about climate a conversation or discussion, often one about a problem or something important for the people involved:I had a long talk with my boss about my career prospects.debate a formal discussion of an issue at a public meeting or in Congress. In a debate, two or more speakers express opposing views and then there is often a vote on the issue:a debate over prison reformconsultation a formal discussion between groups of people before a decision is made about something:The proposal was based on extensive consultations with leading a friendly, informal conversation; informal talking:Could I have a quick chat with you?gossip talk about other people and their private lives, that is often unkind or not true:Office gossip can be nasty and cruel.Patterns (a) discussion/conversation/dialogue/talk/debate/consultation/chat/gossip about something a discussion/conversation/dialogue/debate/consultation on something in (close) discussion/conversation/dialogue/debate/consultation >with>somebody to have a discussion/conversation/dialogue/talk/debate/consultation/chat >with>somebody to hold a discussion/conversation/debate/consultation
  4. say words
  5. 3[intransitive, transitive] to say words in a language The baby is just starting to talk. talk in something We couldn't understand them because they were talking in Chinese. talk something Are they talking Swedish or Danish?
  6. sense/nonsense
  7. 4[transitive] talk something to say things that are/are not sensible She talks a lot of sense. See if you can talk some sense into him (= persuade him to be sensible).
  8. for emphasis
  9. 5[transitive] be talking something (informal) used to emphasize an amount of money, how serious something is, etc. We're talking $800 for three hours' work. Do you know what this will cost? We're talking megabucks here.
  10. about private life
  11. 6[intransitive] to talk about a person's private life synonym gossip Don't call me at work—people will talk.
  12. give information
  13. 7[intransitive] to give information to someone, especially unwillingly The police questioned him but he refused to talk.
  14. Thesaurustalkdiscuss speak communicate debate consultThese words all mean to share news, information, ideas, or feelings with another person or other people, especially by talking with to speak in order to give information, express feelings, or share ideas:We talked on the phone for over an hour.discuss (somewhat formal) to talk and share ideas on a subject or problem with other people, especially in order to decide something:Have you discussed the problem with anyone? You cannot say “discuss about something”:I'm not prepared to discuss about this on the phone.speak to talk to someone about something; to have a conversation with someone:I've spoken to the manager about it. “Can I speak with Susan?” “Speaking.” (= at the beginning of a telephone conversation)talk or speak?Speak can suggest a more formal level of communication than talk. You speak to or with someone about something to try to achieve a particular goal or to tell them to do something. You talk to or with someone in order to be friendly or to ask their advice:Have you talked to your parents about the problems you're having? I've spoken to Ed about it and he's promised not to let it happen again.communicate (somewhat formal) to exchange information or ideas with someone:We only communicate by e-mail. Dolphins use sound to communicate with each other. Communicate is often used when the speaker wants to draw attention to the means of communication used.debate to discuss something, especially formally, before making a decision or finding a solution:Politicians will be debating the bill later this week.consult (somewhat formal) to discuss something with someone in order to get their permission for something, or to help you make a decision:You shouldn't have changed your plans without consulting me.Patterns to talk/discuss something/speak/communicate/debate/consult with somebody to talk/speak to somebody to talk to somebody/speak to somebody/consult somebody about somethingIdioms
    knock/talk some sense into somebody
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    to try and persuade someone to stop behaving in a stupid way, sometimes using rough or violent methods Try and talk some sense into her before she makes the wrong decision. Where would I be without you to knock some sense into my head?
    know what you're talking about (informal)
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    to have knowledge about something from your own experience I've lived in China, so I know what I'm talking about.
    look who's talking, you're a fine one to talk, you should talk (informal)
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    used to tell someone that they should not criticize someone else for something because they do the same things too “George is so careless with money.” “Look who's talking!”
    money talks (saying)
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    people who have a lot of money have more power and influence than others
    now you're talking (informal)
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    used when you like what someone has suggested very much
    speak/talk of the devil (informal)
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    people say speak/talk of the devil when someone they have been talking about appears unexpectedly Well, speak of the devil—here's Alice now!
    speak/talk out of turn
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    to say something that you should not because it is the wrong situation or because it offends someone
    speak/talk the same language
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    to be able to communicate easily with another person because you share similar opinions and experience
    talk about… (informal)
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    used to emphasize something Talk about mean! She didn't even buy me a card.
    talk a good game
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    to talk in a way that sounds convincing, but may not be sincere
    talk shop (usually disapproving)
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    to talk about your work with the people you work with, especially when you are also with other people who are not connected with or interested in it Whenever we get together with David and Sue they always end up talking shop.
    talk the talk (informal) (sometimes disapproving)
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    to be able to talk in a confident way that makes people think you are good at what you do You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? (= can you act in a way that matches your words?)
    talk tough (on something) (informal)
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    to tell people very strongly what you want
    talk turkey (informal)
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    to talk about something seriously
    talk your way out of something/of doing something
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    to make excuses and give reasons for not doing something; to manage to get yourself out of a difficult situation I managed to talk my way out of having to give a speech.
    you're a fine one to talk (informal)
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    = look who's talking
    you should talk (informal)
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    = look who's talking
    Phrasal Verbstalk around somethingtalk at somebodytalk back (to somebody)talk somebody/somethingdowntalk somethingdowntalk down to somebodytalk somebody into/out of somethingtalk somethingouttalk somethingover (with somebody)talk somebody through somethingtalk something throughtalk somebody/something up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: talk