Definition of talk in English:


See synonyms for talk

Translate talk into Spanish

intransitive 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’
    • ‘you're talking rubbish’
    speak, give voice, chat
    utter, speak, say, voice, express, articulate, pronounce, enunciate, verbalize, vocalize
    converse, communicate, speak to each other, discuss things, have a talk, have a chat, have a tête-à-tête, confer, consult each other
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    1. 1.1Have the power of speech.
      • ‘he can talk as well as you or I can’
    2. 1.2Discuss personal or intimate feelings.
      • ‘we need to talk, Maggie’
    3. 1.3with object and adverbial Persuade or cause (someone) to do something by talking.
      • ‘keep on walking and talk your way out of it’
      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
      dissuade from, persuade against, discourage from, deter from, stop, put off, advise against, urge against, divert from, argue out of
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    4. 1.4be talking informal with object Used to emphasize the seriousness, importance, or extent of the thing one is discussing.
      • ‘we're talking big money’
    5. 1.5Reveal secret or confidential information.
      • ‘dead men can't talk’
      confess, speak out, speak up, reveal all, inform, tell tales, tell, divulge information, tell the facts, give the game away, open one's mouth
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    6. 1.6Gossip.
      • ‘you'll have the whole school talking’
      gossip, spread rumours, pass comment, make remarks, criticize
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  • 2Have formal dealings or discussions; negotiate.

    ‘they won't talk to the regime that killed their families’
    • ‘the company is talking with a few private equity firms’
    discuss terms, hold talks, discuss a settlement, talk, consult together, try to reach a compromise, parley, confer, debate
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  • 3with object Use (a particular language) in speech.

    • ‘we were talking German’
    speak, speak in, talk in, communicate in, converse in, express oneself in, discourse in, use
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/tôk/ /tɔk/


  • 1mass noun Communication by spoken words; conversation or discussion.

    • ‘there was a slight but noticeable lull in the talk’
    chatter, chatting, chattering, gossiping, prattling, prating, gibbering, jabbering, babbling, gabbling, rattling on, speaking, talking
    chat, conversation, discussion, gossip
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    1. 1.1count noun A period of conversation or discussion, especially a relatively serious one.
      • ‘my mother had a talk with Louis’
      conversation, chat, discussion, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, dialogue, colloquy, parley, consultation, conference, meeting
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    2. 1.2Rumor, gossip, or speculation.
      • ‘there is talk of an armistice’
      gossip, rumour, hearsay, tittle-tattle, news, report
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    3. 1.3Empty promises or boasting.
      • ‘he's all talk’
    4. 1.4the talk ofA current subject of widespread gossip or speculation in (a particular place)
      • ‘within days I was the talk of the town’
  • 2talksFormal discussions or negotiations over a period.

    • ‘peace talks’
    negotiations, discussions
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  • 3An informal address or lecture.

    ‘a thirty-minute illustrated talk’
    • ‘a talk on a day in the life of an actor’
    lecture, speech, address, discourse, oration, presentation, report, sermon, disquisition, dissertation, symposium
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/tôk/ /tɔk/


    don't talk to me about —
    • 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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And don't talk to me about filtering software.’
      • ‘But for some strange reason - and don't talk to me about coincidence - all three sons, each unaware of the other, decided to contact me at exactly the same time.’
      • ‘And don't talk to me about the series, we both know that I took major liberties with the last incident, but it's still better than the series.’
      • ‘And don't talk to me about numbers, because just about everyone who is good enough to make the NBA is good enough to compile numbers.’
    know what one is talking about
    • Be expert or authoritative on a specified subject.

      ‘I know what I'm talking about—I've built up three businesses from scratch’
      • ‘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 who's talking
    • Used to convey that a criticism made applies equally well to the person who has made it.

      • ‘look who's talking; you haven't even gone out with a guy’
    talk a good game
    • Speak fluently or convincingly about something without necessarily matching one's words with actions.

      • ‘politicians talk a good game but don't act’
    talk about —!
    • Used to emphasize that something is an extreme or striking example of a particular situation, state, or experience.

      • ‘Talk about hangovers! But aching head or not we were getting ready’
    talk cock
    South East Asian
    • Say things that are stupid or untrue.

      • ‘he's just talking cock’
    talk out of one's ass
    vulgar slang
    • Talk foolishly, wildly, or ignorantly.

    talk sense into
    • Persuade (someone) to behave more sensibly.

      ‘just as well she's coming; she might be able to talk some some sense into you’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As you can see, she's the only one talking sense into Jenny at the moment.’
      • ‘Jeffrey tried not to raise his voice but it was hard talking sense into Ethan when he was like this.’
      • ‘Pa's trying to talk sense into them, but only a few see it his way.’
      • ‘She said you'd all do something hideously stupid with your lives, since she wasn't there to talk sense into you all.’
      • ‘My heart went out to him, but there was nothing I could do to talk sense into him.’
      • ‘He knew it was pointless but Luca still kept up his efforts in trying to talk sense into Blake.’
    talk smack
    US informal
    • Make boastful or insulting remarks, especially in order to demoralize or humiliate someone.

    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’
      • ‘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 the talk
    • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They talked the talk but when it came to the moment of truth they couldn't walk the walk.’
      • ‘When it comes to joined-up government, ministers can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?’
      • ‘They talk the talk, too: in interviews, the music-literate Gilbert is at pains to detail how he aspires to make music to get lost in.’
      • ‘In his favour, the Hawaiian-born personal finance author doesn't just talk the talk.’
      • ‘Even if he could talk the talk, it's hard to imagine a man like him blending in with the crowd.’
      • ‘As I observed the transactions around me I quickly appreciated that I was in the presence of the masters - from traders talking the talk to seasoned shoppers haggling for a good price.’
      • ‘I am worried that they are just talking the talk, that they're just trying make things look good right now.’
    talk through one's hat
    • Talk foolishly, wildly, or ignorantly.

      • ‘come on, you're talking through your hat on that’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sophisticated viewers may realize these pundits are talking through their hat, but most won't.’
      • ‘I mention the matter only to establish that I do know the subject exceptionally well and am not talking through my hat in what I am about to say.’
      • ‘So if you read this report and compare it with the game moves, and come to the conclusion that I am talking through my hat, you are probably right.’
      • ‘Because of these uncertainties, anyone who claims to have calculated the mathematically correct probability that this event will take place in the next year would be talking through his hat.’
      • ‘When questioned, Joseph said that he was just talking through his hat.’
      • ‘It's a nice try, but Piper plots the actual data and shows that he is talking through his hat.’
      • ‘For the health minister to claim otherwise is him talking through his hat.’
    you shouldn't talk
    • 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 shouldn't talk!”’

Phrasal Verbs

    talk around
    • talk someone around, talk around someoneBring someone to a particular point of view by talking.

      • ‘you could never talk him around, he was very decided’
    talk at
    • talk at someoneAddress someone in a hectoring or self-important way without listening to their replies.

      ‘he never talked at you’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As I stood there being talked at by Levi, I listened to pieces of conversation from our table.’
      • ‘Urania visits her father, and talks at him, unravelling her anger and distress, not at all sure whether he understands.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the kids routinely must ask forgiveness from the school community for misbehavior: disrupting class, talking back to teachers, failing to do homework.’
      • ‘So I turned to crimping my hair, wearing ripped up belly-shirts year-round, parading in knee high buckskin footwear, disrobing in poor taste and talking back to my momma.’
      • ‘Some supporter was shouting to him and he was talking back and I told him to calm down.’
      • ‘Misbehavior can be talking back to a correctional officer.’
      • ‘Venial sins were the small-time stuff: white lies and petty larceny, like talking back and stealing candy.’
      • ‘We can't have them talking back to their government masters.’
      • ‘Hence you would never talk back to a teacher, in fact you wouldn't even dream of talking back to a teacher or being disrespectful in my days.’
    talk down
    • talk someone or something down, talk down someone or somethingDiscuss someone or something in a way that makes them seem less interesting or attractive.

      • ‘the engineers are talking the project down’
    talk down to
    • talk down to someoneSpeak patronizingly or condescendingly to someone.

      ‘there's an art to informing people without talking down or pandering to them’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her refusal to patronise or talk down to her readers makes her a huge favourite and this should be an inspirational and fascinating afternoon.’
      • ‘Voters cannot bear being talked down to.’
      • ‘They did not talk down to him or patronize him in anyway.’
      • ‘Yet he had to suffer the indignity of people not bothering to return his calls, being talked down to by accountants, claiming unemployment benefit and all the time being slowly ground down by it.’
      • ‘While the play was enjoyable overall, there were moments that I felt I was being talked down to and the play's somewhat pretentious concept may be in part to blame.’
      • ‘You will never be smacked, disciplined, or talked down to.’
      • ‘I just thought it was a fantastic way to reach kids on a level and in a way that they were not being talked down to by adults.’
    talk into
    • talk someone into somethingPersuade someone to do something that they are unwilling to do.

      ‘don't try to talk me into acting as a go-between’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A friend had initially tried to talk Susan out of the plan.’
      • ‘I do not want to talk you out of your bad feelings.’
      • ‘His wife, Khudeija, reportedly talked him out of his suicidal intention.’
      • ‘I spent several weeks attempting to talk her out of concentrating on me.’
      • ‘I very often have to talk people out of having things done.’
      • ‘Denial will try to talk you out of the feelings of danger.’
      • ‘I have to talk myself out of a lot of things.’
    talk out
    • 1talk something out, talk out somethingDiscuss something thoroughly in order to solve a problem or reach a conclusion.

      • ‘we talked it out and came to an understanding’
    • 2talk something out, talk out somethingBritish (in Parliament) block the course of a bill by prolonging discussion to the time of adjournment.

      ‘they talked the bill out, so there was no vote’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Bill's opponents are trying to talk it out, and the Government is waiting for the moment when it will have the numbers for the two-thirds majority necessary for a constitutional amendment.’
    talk out of
    • talk someone out of somethingPersuade someone not to do something unwise.

      • ‘I wrote a letter resigning, but he talked me out of it’
    talk over
    • talk something over, talk over somethingDiscuss something thoroughly.

      ‘Collins wanted to talk over our arrangements for doing the work’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every so often I like to get together with all my chefs to talk things through, discuss suppliers, chat about what should and shouldn't be on the menus, that sort of thing.’
      • ‘It says here that the secret of a happy marriage is communication, talking things through.’
      • ‘We want to talk these proposals through with the community.’
      • ‘He talked it over with his sister, discussing details of the condition and whether his portrayal was right or wrong.’
      • ‘I'm used to talking things through and most of all sticking with until it's really un-fixable or someone falls out of love.’
      • ‘It brought the subject to the fore and we talked things through.’
      • ‘But I want to see a public debate on these questions so the church can talk things through now rather than later on.’
      • ‘He had talked it over with Carol Anne and Paige and after much discussion had decided to go for it.’
      • ‘The bartenders talk it through, reviewing the recipe, measuring and tasting and discussing the drink's fine points.’
      • ‘It was only as I was slowly talking my way through the question that I realised it was a trick question.’
      • ‘I am a great believer in talking things through.’
      • ‘He had initially planned to retire at the end of the 2001-2002 season but then changed his mind after talking things through with his family.’
      • ‘We considered our options last night and after talking things through with our advisor decided to pull the plug on the ill fated mortgage application.’
      • ‘After talking things through we wandered back upstairs to inquire about our boy.’
      • ‘I thought his remarks were disrespectful, but after talking things over with him I realised I read too much into them.’
      • ‘I talked things over with my family, because I would need their support if I were to accomplish what I wanted to do.’
      • ‘They talked things over before heading on to Carrington.’
    talk through
    • 1talk something through, talk through somethingDiscuss something thoroughly.

      • ‘he needed to spend time talking through his feelings’
    • 2talk someone through somethingEnable someone to perform a task by giving them continuous instruction.

      ‘the two presenters talk you through hanging different types of paper’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Carlos talked Jordon through his shift, slowly explaining the routine of scrubbing conveyer belts, grinders, blenders, and bone cutters.’
      • ‘It looks pretty convenient for a new desktop user and would be easy for a support person to talk someone through it.’
      • ‘They were paid instructors, and they talked us through the exam as we did it.’
      • ‘He rang with a glitch on his computer, I talked him through something I hoped would sort it out for him.’
      • ‘To help us contact our angels and guides, we are talked through meditation and relaxation exercises that lead our hypnotised minds to rooms with doors and plaques, where we might be able to read their names.’
      • ‘She is best remembered for her cookery programmes set in her quaint Suffolk cottage, where she meticulously talks viewers through the intricacies of every recipe.’
      • ‘The software literally talks the trainees through all the procedures.’
    talk to
    • talk to someoneReprimand or scold someone.

      ‘someone will have to talk to Lily’
      • ‘He let us take turns riding in the trailer until a traffic cop stopped and talked to us.’
    talk up
    • talk someone or something up, talk up someone or somethingDiscuss someone or something in a way that makes them seem more interesting or attractive.

      ‘he is talking up the company to stock analysts’
      • ‘he has become feted by the fashionable and been talked up generally’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sure, partisan pundits spent the campaign season talking their own guy up, but that's a different matter.’
      • ‘I like to think I am already an ambassador, talking Scotland up when I go abroad.’
      • ‘I am not going to spend these next few weeks going around talking Britain down.’
      • ‘He does always seem to be talking the players down, saying they are not good enough.’
      • ‘Despite the obvious problems with the court, its officials, publicly at least, are talking it up.’
      • ‘And it's just possible that we ought to be talking it up rather than running it down.’
      • ‘I absolutely loved the film, and was talking it up to people who were really skeptical about it.’


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