Definition of talk in English:

talk

Line breaks: talk
Pronunciation: /tɔːk
 
/

verb

[no object]
  • 1Speak in order to give information or express ideas or feelings; converse or communicate by spoken words: the two men talked we’d sit and talk about jazz it was no use talking to Anthony [with object]: you’re talking rubbish
    More example sentences
    • However, since I was so relieved to be talking to someone, I started talking with her friend.
    • As well as stopping and talking to people on the street we also spent a lot of time checking under bridges and talking with the homeless there.
    • For Arius, it was logically possible to talk about God without talking of him as Father.
    Synonyms
    speak, give voice, chat; chatter, gossip, prattle, prate, babble, rattle on, blather, blether, orate
    informal yak, gab, jaw, go on, chew the fat
    British informal natter, rabbit, witter, chunter
    North American informal rap, run off at the mouth
    Australian/New Zealand informal mag
    utter, speak, say, voice, express, articulate, pronounce, enunciate, verbalize, vocalizeconverse, communicate, speak to each other, discuss things, have a talk, have a chat, have a tête-à-tête, confer, consult each other; negotiate, have negotiations, parley, palaver
    informal have a confab, chew the fat/rag, jaw, rap
    formal confabulate
  • 1.1Have the power of speech: he can talk as well as you or I can
    More example sentences
    • He can only use his right hand and finds talking difficult as his speech is impaired.
    • He talks, but his speech has not developed at the rate it should.
  • 1.2Discuss personal or intimate feelings: we need to talk, Maggie
    More example sentences
    • What gets sacrificed is any time to talk, discuss, consider options, or enjoy each other's company.
    • It all points to the need to talk, to discuss, to jointly plan for the future without confrontation.
    • I talk to him every once in a while, and I went to his birthday party, but we never talk like we used to.
  • 1.3 [with object and adverbial] Persuade or cause (someone) to do something by talking: don’t try to talk me into acting as a go-between
    More example sentences
    • The negotiators would come up, attempt to talk this person into letting them go.
    • While at his daughter's home he developed an infection and after days of persuasion from his family was talked into going back into hospital.
    • He was talked out of a tightrope walk between two sky-scrapers to open a megastore in New York, but he has come close to death many times in publicity stunts.
    Synonyms
    persuade someone to, convince someone to, argue someone into, cajole someone into, coax someone into, bring someone round to, talk someone round to, inveigle someone into, wheedle someone into, sweet-talk someone into, influence someone to, prevail on someone to
    informal hustle, fast-talk
    dissuade from, persuade against, discourage from, deter from, stop, put off, advise against, urge against, divert from, argue out of
  • 1.4 [with object] (be talking) • informal Used to emphasize the seriousness, importance, or extent of the thing one is discussing: we’re talking big money
    More example sentences
    • A while ago people were talking Oscar nominations, but it would really be an injustice if it got any.
    • Where the age or consent is a defence, well you're talking a different kettle of fish.
    • We're certainly not talking your average, run-of-the-mill love story here.
  • 1.5Reveal secret or confidential information: dead men can’t talk
    More example sentences
    • Multinationals will go to any lengths to keep their employees from talking, we can reveal.
    • Some talked and sold their secrets for their lives.
    Synonyms
    confess, speak out, speak up, reveal all, inform, tell tales, tell, divulge information, tell the facts, give the game away, open one's mouth
  • 1.6Gossip: you’ll have the whole school talking
    More example sentences
    • She's the bride-to-be who's got the whole country talking about her cold feet.
    • He always was a big name here in New York, but now the whole country's talking about him.
    • These long ago promised chairs have had the whole office talking for weeks now.
    Synonyms
    gossip, spread rumours, pass comment, make remarks, criticize
  • 2Have formal dealings or discussions; negotiate: they won’t talk to the regime that killed their families
    More example sentences
    • We want them to talk to each other in addition to their governments talking.
    • North End confirmed they were talking to players, but refused to name names.
  • 3 [with object] Use (a particular language) in speech: we were talking German
    More example sentences
    • Where they couldn't talk the language, they made themselves understood by signs, and everyone seemed to be getting on nicely.
    • In his anxiety he had forgotten that his only means of making me understand was to talk my language, so he jabbered away in his native German.
    • A candidate who can talk English in an Americanised accent will be the most favoured choice of these companies.
    Synonyms
    speak, speak in, talk in, communicate in, converse in, express oneself in, discourse in, use

noun

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Phrases

you can't (or can) talk (US you shouldn't or should talk)

informal Used to convey that a criticism made applies equally well to the person who has made it: ‘He’d chase anything in a skirt!’ ‘You can’t talk!’
More example sentences
  • ‘You're the one that started this conversation so you shouldn't talk,’ I spat back.

don't talk to me about ——

informal Said in protest when someone introduces a subject of which the speaker has had bitter personal experience: don’t talk to me about credit cards—I just got the bill for my Christmas excesses today!
More example sentences
  • And don't talk to me about personal kinds of campaigning.
  • So don't talk to me about discrimination, or racism.
  • Tax the rich, and don't talk to me about capital flight.

know what one is talking about

Be expert or authoritative on a particular subject: I know what I’m talking about—I’ve built up three businesses from scratch
More example sentences
  • But why on earth, before one knows what one is talking about and without the scientific evidence to make a judgment, would one nevertheless make that judgment?
  • Unless one is in that situation and really knows what it is like to face those sorts of family difficulties, one does not know what one is talking about when pontificating about cultural sensitivities.

look (or hark) who's talking

another way of saying .

talk a blue streak

see blue1.

talk about ——!

informal Used to emphasize that something is an extreme or striking example of a particular situation, state, or experience: talk about hangovers!

talk dirty

see dirty.

talk the hind leg off a donkey

British informal Talk incessantly: he could talk the hind leg off a donkey without ever letting you know what was in his mind
More example sentences
  • I am a person who can talk the hind leg off a donkey but I can see that this well earned title may go to someone else if I don't buck my ideas up.
  • My grandmother always did say I could talk the hind leg off a donkey!
  • I know that if I close my eyes, I can see Gail as she once was, happy and innocent and ready to talk the hind leg off a donkey.

talk nineteen to the dozen

see dozen.

talk of the devil

see devil.

talk sense into

Persuade (someone) to behave more sensibly: just as well she’s coming; she might be able to talk some sense into you
More example sentences
  • You can't talk sense into these people here.
  • Some officers try to talk sense into the taunters.
  • But I owe him a big thank you for talking sense into me.

talk shop

see shop.

talk through one's hat (or British arse or backside or US ass)

informal Talk foolishly, wildly, or ignorantly: come on, you’re talking through your hat on that
More example sentences
  • And for me to say anything about the intelligence dispute would be talking through my hat.
  • Good thing he's so electable, or he might have to stop talking through his hat.
  • I'm afraid, my old darling, that you are talking through your hat.

talk the talk

informal Speak fluently or convincingly about something or in a way intended to please or impress others: we may not look like true rock jocks yet, but we talk the talk
More example sentences
  • She talks the talk of the natural childbirth movement, which campaigns against the ‘doctor knows best’ approach to pregnancy and birth.
  • Going to football, or at least talking the talk, allowed politicians and journalists to express their common touch.
  • While Henry talked the talk, we were never very sure that he understood what was going on around him.

talk turkey

see turkey.

Phrasal verbs

talk at

Address (someone) in a hectoring or self-important way without listening to their replies: he never talked at you
More example sentences
  • This isn't easy to do whilst listening and talking at someone else.
  • They talk at rather than listen to customers; they don't interact with them and offer new products or services.
  • The time has come to have an NHS where the patients are listened to and not talked at.

talk back

Reply defiantly or insolently: all children talk back and act up from time to time he was always talking back to Dad about chores
More example sentences
  • Someone here said how their parents taught them to talk back if they disagreed with something.
  • He is the sort who talks back, but I think it is fine to have a bit of character.
  • She does an impression of a tough gal waiting tables in a diner, wearing the uniform with the name-badge and feistily talking back to the guy serving up food through the hatch.
Synonyms
answer back, answer defiantly, be impertinent, answer impertinently, be cheeky, be rude, contradict, argue with, disagree with

talk down to

Speak patronizingly or condescendingly to: there’s an art to informing people without talking down or pandering to them
More example sentences
  • I hate being talked down to, patronised and being told what is right and what is wrong.
  • I don't want to be talked down to in such a condescending way.
  • It carries information that is relevant to their lives, it's fun and it's written in a way that does not patronise or talk down to them.
Synonyms
condescend to, patronize, treat condescendingly, speak condescendingly to, speak haughtily to, look down one's nose at, look down on, put down, be snobbish to

talk something out

British (In Parliament) block the course of a bill by prolonging discussion to the time of adjournment.
More example sentences
  • Most private members' bills are talked out before reaching a vote, and on average only eight such bills have been passed in post-war Parliaments.
  • Last week, partly thanks to Government opposition, the MP saw his Referendum Bill fail in the House of Commons after it was talked out.
  • In Ontario, David Croll did introduce a private member's bill in 1939, but it was talked out during the last pre-war session.

talk someone out of

Persuade someone not to do (something unwise).
More example sentences
  • Even a stranger passing by a fighting couple could talk them out of the quarrel.
  • Neither could his Son who tried to talk him out of the trip.
  • In the end, he talked her out of suicide.

talk someone round (or US around)

Bring someone to a particular point of view by talking: you could never talk him round, he was very decided
More example sentences
  • Or maybe we can talk him around with one more argument; or perhaps his new colleagues can talk him around.
  • I didn't really want to go, but he talked me round.
  • I kept wanting to break it off but somehow he always talked me round.
Synonyms
persuade, prevail on, bring round, win over, influence, sway, convert, affect, bias; manipulate, bend, mould

talk someone through

Enable someone to perform (a task) by giving them continuous instruction: the two presenters talk you through hanging different types of paper
More example sentences
  • He signaled the tow team supervisor to stop the operation and then got in the cab of the tow vehicle with the driver and talked him through this complicated task.
  • The solicitor talked us through all the legal steps and helped us draw up a will.
  • Jenna used scissors to cut the cord and at the same time we rang for an ambulance and they talked us through what to do until they arrived.

talk something over (or through)

Discuss something thoroughly: Collins wanted to talk over our arrangements for doing the work he needed to spend time talking through his feelings
More example sentences
  • One of the best parts of the movie for me was talking the movie over with friends, discussing our own interpretations.
  • As to the secret of 60 years of marriage, Ronald says: ‘We discussed everything and we talked our problems over.’
  • You can stay the whole break if you wish, Rose and I have thoroughly talked it over.

talk to

Reprimand or scold (someone): someone will have to talk to Lily
More example sentences
  • He let us take turns riding in the trailer until a traffic cop stopped and talked to us.

talk someone/thing up (or down)

Discuss someone or something in a way that makes them seem more (or less) interesting or attractive: he is talking up the company to stock analysts he has become feted by the fashionable and been talked up generally
More example sentences
  • If you are in the business of flogging houses, it is in your financial interest to talk the market up.
  • It's not even especially interestingly designed, despite attempts to try and talk it up.
  • He talks people down, stretches the truth, ignores or denies uncomfortable facts, is blatantly rude to anyone to questions him.
Synonyms
promote, push, boost, hype, merchandise, publicize, advertise, give publicity to, give a puff to, puff, puff up, build up, beat/bang the drum for
informal plug

Derivatives

talker

noun
More example sentences
  • The talkers and writers resent being left on the sidelines by the doers.
  • You don't want good talkers as hosts; you want them as guests.
  • The reason why used-car salesmen and some lawyers are known as slick, fast talkers is that that style is effective.
Synonyms
conversationalist, speaker, communicatorchatterer, chatterbox, gossip; someone who is all talk

Origin

Middle English: frequentative verb from the Germanic base of tale or tell1.

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