Definition of talk in English:

talk

verb

[with 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While no one likes to face this possibility, it's not a bad idea to talk about caring options before they become a necessity.’
    • ‘He is openly weary of discussing his adoption and complains that the last journalist he spoke to wouldn't talk about anything else.’
    • ‘Schools may not provide enough information for young girls but friends talk about sex amongst each other, they know what happens.’
    • ‘When I get home I speak to my wife and we don't talk about football.’
    • ‘With these ideas out of the window, what is there to talk about?’
    • ‘He talked in his speech about the abuse of power by the executive.’
    • ‘As might be expected, he does not clearly express his stance even though he talks about the power of the presidency.’
    • ‘Why are they not talking about putting the power back on and getting the sewage out of the streets.’
    • ‘Even as we talked, the unreliable power supply was affecting the lighting.’
    • ‘Throughout his speech, the minister talked about culture as an instrument for social improvement.’
    • ‘Nobody can accuse him of not finding the time to talk to whoever wants to speak to him.’
    • ‘She's not speaking to him and he's not talking to her and they haven't spoken for years.’
    • ‘For example, to claim a right to free speech is to talk nonsense as nobody really has such a total right.’
    • ‘He talks at great length about architecture.’
    • ‘She talks at a rate of knots, but is charm personified.’
    • ‘We talked about personal beliefs and embarrassing moments.’
    • ‘She was always strangely content to focus on her job, never talking about her personal life.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Have the power of speech.
      ‘he can talk as well as you or I can’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Discuss personal or intimate feelings.
      ‘we need to talk, Maggie’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We talked about how we don't talk to each other anymore.’
      • ‘You said something about just wanting to talk to me, but we could've talked in other places.’
      • ‘It's been so long since we talked that you can feel the distance between us.’
      • ‘You've been trying to talk to him for a few days and now that he's shown up ready to talk, you're not going to listen.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of these people were talked into getting things on hire purchase.’
      • ‘Damien didn't talk me into it but I felt under pressure.’
      • ‘These she continued to use for daytime wear and was able to talk her mother and her best friend into trying out the new style.’
      • ‘She could talk anyone into anything, Katie thought as she walked into the restaurant.’
      • ‘Mrs. Talbot talked me into this - even cleaned and pressed everything for me.’
      • ‘Hedda talks him into committing suicide by shooting himself in the temple.’
      • ‘The lady who owns the shop talks me into buying an ice cream.’
      • ‘Anyway, it's a look I like, and unless my friendly neighbourhood stylist talks me out of it, that's it!’
      • ‘She tries talking him out of it, and motivates him by offering him some ‘supplements’.’
      • ‘I was reluctant to have the party but my daughter and wife said not to be selfish and talked me into it.’
      • ‘During the second semester that year, I talked Scott into getting a show at the campus radio station, where I'd been working for a year.’
      • ‘Your mind is made up, and it's not like I'd be happy if I talked you into staying with me.’
      • ‘And he really talked him into staying.’
      • ‘Just a couple of months back Lynn was reputed to have talked him out of an early marriage because she felt he wasn't ready to settle down.’
      • ‘For a moment, I seriously considered trying the lamb's brain concoction, but I was talked out of it by my colleagues at the last minute.’
      • ‘My boss had talked me into doing the New York City Marathon, and I was 30 pounds overweight and hadn't put on running shoes in a year.’
      • ‘A former professor talked me out of it in a letter in which she told me she personally did not think anyone could reach Papa.’
      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
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4be talkinginformal with object Used to emphasize the seriousness, importance, or extent of the thing one is discussing.
      ‘we're talking big money’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We are not talking teenagers, but trained conscripts and combat veterans.’
      • ‘The place is chock a block full of foreigners, and I'm not just talking Americans here.’
      • ‘We're talking real people from Paris, real feedback, and it's been good.’
      • ‘We're talking people with million-dollar mortgages, and that means really big homes.’
      • ‘But that image isn't there for no reason, and this is Europe we're talking about, a whole new experience for the club.’
      • ‘We're talking six whole movies here that could provide a veritable dissertation on horror films.’
    5. 1.5Reveal secret or confidential information.
      ‘dead men can't talk’
      • ‘Multinationals will go to any lengths to keep their employees from talking, we can reveal.’
      • ‘Some talked and sold their secrets for their lives.’
      confess, speak out, speak up, reveal all, inform, tell tales, tell, divulge information, tell the facts, give the game away, open one's mouth
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6Gossip.
      ‘you'll have the whole school talking’
      • ‘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.’
      gossip, spread rumours, pass comment, make remarks, criticize
      View synonyms
  • 2Have formal dealings or discussions; negotiate.

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

    ‘we were talking German’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He still can't talk English, but thanks to the classes, he now can put together alphabets and words.’
    • ‘Somalian-born, Farah could not talk English when he arrived in Britain aged nine in 1992.’
    • ‘He got lots of laughs when he recalled a story of how he could hardly talk English after linking up with him.’
    • ‘If foul language could be banned in schools then perhaps we could hear people talking English with out hearing swear words in every sentence.’
    speak, speak in, talk in, communicate in, converse in, express oneself in, discourse in, use
    View synonyms

noun

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

    ‘there was a slight but noticeable lull in the talk’
    • ‘In movies like this, a picture is worth a thousand words, and less talk would have been welcome.’
    • ‘In fact, careless talk and unciphered communications gave considerable help to German intelligence.’
    • ‘The avian flu virus which has generated much talk and discussion across continents in recent weeks is of a deadly nature.’
    • ‘Conversation analysts have developed a variety of procedures for the study of talk in interaction.’
    • ‘There has been a lot of talk regarding low fan attendance at the convention.’
    • ‘Then it got peaceful, and everyone started eating, and there was only the low murmur of talk and laughter.’
    • ‘Footsteps receded down the corridor and melted into the low hum of talk from the banquet.’
    • ‘There is constant talk throughout the story of what our emotions really speak of, where they come from, and what they mean.’
    • ‘She definitely preferred small talk to no talk, especially in this situation.’
    • ‘Newcomers adjust their talk and nonverbal interactions to those of a work group they are entering.’
    • ‘Discourse is defined as talk and texts which are studied as social practice.’
    • ‘There was talk of the weather, the crops, some gossip and scandal, some hunting and fishing news.’
    • ‘For example, there has been much talk about the increasing deprofessionalisation of teaching.’
    • ‘Labouring men would have been baffled by talk of stress.’
    • ‘There are many wounded and witnesses have described seeing bodies, although there has been no talk of fatalities yet.’
    • ‘It could have become a little new-age preachy, with talk of enzymes and vitamins enhancing your well-being.’
    chatter, chatting, chattering, gossiping, prattling, prating, gibbering, jabbering, babbling, gabbling, rattling on, speaking, talking
    chat, conversation, discussion, gossip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A period of conversation or discussion, especially a relatively serious one.
      ‘my mother had a talk with Louis’
      • ‘He was having a serious talk with his mother as soon as all this was over.’
      • ‘They were inseparable, those two, and of course their serious discussions and long talks with their parents resulted in the decision to be married.’
      • ‘Either way, I knew I was going to be having a serious talk with them about it.’
      • ‘Karl realized Kat wasn't ready to have a serious talk yet, so he decided to stop trying.’
      • ‘I put up with his moping around for about a week, and then decided it was time for a serious talk.’
      • ‘I had a serious talk with them and I cannot say now what action I am going to take against them.’
      • ‘I am going to have to have a serious talk with that man, she promised herself.’
      • ‘What happened to the serious talks and the sharing of experiences?’
      • ‘Stuff we do: besides just trying to have general fun, we have serious talks about health, sexuality, and prejudice.’
      • ‘Our deep talks turned into superficial conversation.’
      • ‘He frequently lifts the youth's spirits through personal conversations and telephone talks.’
      • ‘Mediation does offer a family session or couples can ask their mediator to have a talk with the children.’
      • ‘Rachel and Dave signed up for another marriage course, which saw them meeting up with six other couples for five weeks for group discussions and one-to-one talks.’
      • ‘They will evaluate the woman's need on the basis of their talks over the telephone and, if needed, put them across to legal experts.’
      • ‘Anyway, I wish you had been more honest during our talks.’
      • ‘She hadn't been much for conversation since their talk the previous evening.’
      conversation, chat, discussion, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, dialogue, colloquy, parley, powwow, consultation, conference, meeting
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Rumour, gossip, or speculation.
      ‘there is talk of an armistice’
      • ‘Brushing off talk of a whispering campaign against him in his own party, he claimed that Liberal Democrats were the party of tomorrow.’
      • ‘The new editor has instead upped news content and there is talk of launching a News Review section.’
      • ‘However, in response to the public outcry at the proposals, the council has now backtracked claiming talk of closure was a rumour.’
      • ‘These rumours were further fuelled with talk of the them having mined the seas and submarines being seen.’
      • ‘The talk of moving the championship started last year and the rumours made the rounds this year as well.’
      • ‘Early this year more positive news came with talk that the company was close to making a profit on a monthly basis.’
      • ‘There is talk of crisis in many of the media reports.’
      • ‘He dismissed talk of a feud with Brown, who is reported to covet the premiership.’
      • ‘But despite the predicted weekend let-up, forecasters have dismissed talk of a long-term thaw.’
      • ‘So some say the future of the church is in Africa and there is a lot of talk of the next pope coming from there.’
      • ‘Voters will be reassured by Labour's record, and not frightened by talk of a house-price crash or third-term tax rises.’
      • ‘Then, as now, there was talk of a major financial collapse.’
      • ‘But the Government says talk of collisions and delays is simply scaremongering.’
      • ‘The room seems so much more packed with these guys around - and I hear talk of them coming every week.’
      • ‘Now, with the annual teachers' union conferences finishing on a shrill note, there is talk of an uprising within the profession.’
      • ‘In recent days, there's been much talk of division within the leadership.’
      • ‘They are disappointed enough and down enough without talk of retirement of resignations or anything like that.’
      • ‘He says that talk of a breakthrough has been around for some time.’
      • ‘The early talk was that they'd address only people who purchased locks in the last two years.’
      • ‘Credit markets are forever engulfed by rumours and panic talk about situations that rarely materialise.’
      gossip, rumour, hearsay, tittle-tattle, news, report
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Empty promises or boasting.
      ‘he's all talk’
      • ‘The promises and the tough talk are being met with justifiable skepticism.’
      • ‘For all their talk and promises of support, they have always placed self-preservation at the top of their list.’
      • ‘If we think about it together we might be able to do things beyond just empty talk.’
      • ‘It seems to have been Africa's fate to become a theater of empty talk and public gestures.’
      • ‘Otherwise our country's stated educational goals are merely empty talk.’
      • ‘If it is unable to do this, then all talk about independent public opinion is just empty talk.’
      • ‘And despite all their talk they cannot give a promise that the tax burden will fall.’
    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’
      • ‘By the time I heard, the rumour had been the talk of the school for close to 20 minutes.’
  • 2talksFormal discussions or negotiations over a period.

    ‘peace talks’
    • ‘Singapore is also now in formal talks with Canada, China and Mexico for similar agreements.’
    • ‘Norway has indicated it has suspended formal involvement in the talks, adding to the pressure on the prime minister and the president to end the political stalemate.’
    • ‘No formal talks are under way, and there is a chance no deal will occur.’
    • ‘The two countries have not held formal talks on normalizing ties since October 2000.’
    • ‘The foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia flew to Tripoli for the formal opening of the talks.’
    • ‘It was unclear whether the meeting would be for more talks or a formal farewell.’
    • ‘The two sides have held talks four times since their first encounter in September 1997.’
    • ‘Both sides held talks the past two weekends, but there's no indication of a breakthrough.’
    • ‘The decision came at 11.30 pm on Thursday after 14 hours of talks at the Labour Relations Commission.’
    • ‘Health chiefs are hopeful that a ban could come out of talks at a high level conference on improving public health to be held in March.’
    • ‘The Pope and the president met today in private talks at the Vatican.’
    • ‘I know my agent and the club are in talks at the moment but I'm just concentrating on playing, I don't really get involved in stuff’
    • ‘The 19-year-old striker was in lengthy talks at Deepdale before negotiations broke down.’
    • ‘In a series of calls, he made clear that Britain would retain the referendum option and that he did not want to prejudice next week's crisis talks at a Brussels summit.’
    • ‘Union negotiators and government officials are involved in talks to try to prevent further action.’
    • ‘He has one year left on his contract and yet again yesterday he refused to be drawn on the prospect of any talks to extend it.’
    • ‘The deal was reportedly agreed at secret talks before Christmas between the two men.’
    • ‘He continued to obstruct the strike for nine weeks, holding secret talks with local authority employers.’
    • ‘This is why we need talks which addresses the security issues, the social and economic issues and the core political issues at the same time.’
    • ‘He simply believes these issues should rarely be addressed in trade talks.’
    negotiations, discussions
    View synonyms
  • 3An informal address or lecture.

    ‘a thirty-minute illustrated talk’
    ‘a talk on a day in the life of an actor’
    • ‘Members of the Countryside Team will be present and there will be an informal talk, followed by a gentle walk through the park.’
    • ‘Earlier the peer educators had used a lecture-cum-discussion technique and but later switched over to informal talks in groups.’
    • ‘In his talk, Harvey will address the anxiety that string theory has produced.’
    • ‘The city centre attraction has transformed its world of original interiors into the setting for informal themed talks on dining over the past 300 years.’
    • ‘And at the café there will be a series of informal, short talks by experts in various fields.’
    • ‘I did not even prepare for the talk as I've given that lecture so many times before.’
    • ‘I also participated in the public programs with talks and lectures to various groups during the exhibition.’
    • ‘Guild members found the talk very informative and extend thanks to Ann for her time and interest.’
    • ‘A German documentary film maker accompanies her to Oxford, even filming my interview with her, and she has a busy schedule of lectures and talks across the world.’
    • ‘The department's aim is to shrink the window of opportunity for crime through measures such as personal safety talks, partnership working and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.’
    • ‘I confess that, by that point, I was too distressed to listen to the fourth talk at all.’
    • ‘What I thought, listening to Matt's talk at that conference, was that you could do the whole process in parallel.’
    • ‘Ice Age mammoths, life in Iron Age Britain and views of the Second World War are among the topics in a new series of talks at the museum.’
    • ‘Senior officers will be on hand on the streets to offer information and advice as their colleagues conduct talks at a number of schools.’
    • ‘The committee is hoping to invite several people to give talks atthe launch and the usual story tellers will also be present.’
    • ‘In about a month I am doing a couple of talks at the Bath literary festival.’
    • ‘In the future Mr. Hunt is hoping to be available to lecture and give talks to the schools in the area.’
    • ‘He gives talks to school children about the war and what the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance Sunday is all about.’
    • ‘He also gives regular talks to schoolchildren on what dog-ownership involves.’
    • ‘He frequently gives talks to art clubs and societies and will be teaching painting in Tuscany this summer.’
    lecture, speech, address, discourse, oration, presentation, report, sermon, disquisition, dissertation, symposium
    View synonyms

Phrases

    you can't (or can) 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!’’
      • ‘‘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!’
      • ‘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 particular 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 (or hark) 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 about —!
    informal
    • Used to emphasize that something is an extreme or striking example of a particular situation, state, or experience.

      ‘talk about hangovers!’
    talk a good game
    informal
    • Speak fluently or convincingly about something without necessarily matching one's words with actions.

      ‘politicians talk a good game but don't act’
      • ‘Everyone talks a good game, but some don't practice it the way they should.’
      • ‘Companies talk a good game when it comes to protecting their clients' personal information, but—when it comes to paying for that security—they're more apt to be "penny-wise and pound-foolish".’
      • ‘I cannot help but sense that he talks a good game about work, the future, and his principles, but when it comes to putting words into actions, he won't.’
      • ‘Those city councillors talk a good game, but then demonstrate that they really understand nothing about the fabric of urban life.’
      • ‘While he talks a good game, he hasn't proven himself to be a team builder.’
    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 sense into
    • Persuade (someone) to behave more sensibly.

      ‘just as well she's coming; she might be able to talk 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 through one's hat
    informal
    • 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.’
    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’
      • ‘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 arse (or backside)
    informal
    • Talk foolishly, wildly, or ignorantly.

Phrasal Verbs

    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 at
    • Address (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 down to
    • Speak patronizingly or condescendingly to.

      ‘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 something out
    British
    • (in Parliament) block the course of a bill by prolonging discussion to the time of adjournment.

      • ‘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 someone into
    • Persuade 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 to
    • Reprimand 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 someone round
    • Bring someone to a particular point of view by talking.

      ‘you could never talk him round, he was very decided’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of our members has been cultivating vines for 20 years and was ready to throw in the towel he is that fed-up, but hopefully we have talked him round.’
      • ‘She eventually talked him round and he left empty-handed.’
      • ‘She wasn't sure about putting the two of you together but I talked her round.’
      • ‘She was set against it at first because of the laws against it, but I talked her around.’
      • ‘They tried to talk me round, but I had already made up my mind.’
      • ‘When there's trouble I can talk people round, I don't have to be physical.’
      • ‘Her mother's a pretty strident feminist though and she talked her father round.’
    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’
      • ‘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 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’
      • ‘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 someone out of
    • Persuade someone not to do (something unwise).

    talk someone/something down
    • Discuss someone or something in a way that makes them seem less interesting or attractive.

    talk someone/something up
    • Discuss 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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

talk

/tɔːk/