a. The faculty or act of speaking.
b. The faculty or act of expressing or describing thoughts, feelings, or perceptions by the articulation of words.
a. What is spoken or expressed, as in conversation; uttered or written words: seditious speech.
b. A talk or public address, or a written copy of this: The senator gave a speech.
a. The language or dialect of a nation or region: American speech.
b. One's manner or style of speaking: the mayor's mumbling speech.
4. The study of oral communication, speech sounds, and vocal physiology.
[Middle English speche, from Old English sprǣc, spǣc.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.