/speech/ , n.
1. the faculty or power of speaking; oral communication; ability to express one's thoughts and emotions by speech sounds and gesture: Losing her speech made her feel isolated from humanity.
2. the act of speaking: He expresses himself better in speech than in writing.
3. something that is spoken; an utterance, remark, or declaration: We waited for some speech that would indicate her true feelings.
4. a form of communication in spoken language, made by a speaker before an audience for a given purpose: a fiery speech.
5. any single utterance of an actor in the course of a play, motion picture, etc.
6. the form of utterance characteristic of a particular people or region; a language or dialect.
7. manner of speaking, as of a person: Your slovenly speech is holding back your career.
8. a field of study devoted to the theory and practice of oral communication.
9. Archaic. rumor.
[ bef. 900; ME speche, OE spaec, var. of SPRAEC, deriv. of sprecan to SPEAK; c. G Sprache ]
Syn. 1. parlance, parley, conversation, communication. SPEECH, LANGUAGE refer to the means of communication used by people. SPEECH is the expression of ideas and thoughts by means of articulate vocal sounds, or the faculty of thus expressing ideas and thoughts. LANGUAGE is a set of conventional signs, not necessarily articulate or even vocal (any set of signs, signals, or symbols that convey meaning, including written words, may be called language): a spoken language. Thus, LANGUAGE is the set of conventions, and SPEECH is the action of putting these to use: He couldn't understand the speech of the natives because it was in a foreign language. 3. observation, assertion, asseveration, comment, mention, talk. 4. talk, discourse.
SPEECH, ADDRESS, ORATION, HARANGUE are terms for a communication to an audience. SPEECH is the general word, with no implication of kind or length, or whether planned or not. An ADDRESS is a rather formal, planned speech, appropriate to a particular subject or occasion. An ORATION is a polished, rhetorical address, given usually on a notable occasion, that employs eloquence and studied methods of delivery. A HARANGUE is a violent, informal speech, often addressed to a casually assembled audience, and intended to arouse strong feeling (sometimes to lead to mob action). 6. tongue, patois.