say1 W1S1 [seı] v past tense and past participle said [sed] third person singular says [sez]
1¦(express something in words)¦
2¦(give information)¦
4¦(think that something is true)¦
5¦(show/be a sign of something)¦
6¦(speak the words of something)¦
8¦(suggest/suppose something)¦
9 say to yourself
10 I must say
11 I can't say (that)
12 I would say
13 I couldn't say
14 if I may say so
15 having said that
16 wouldn't you say?
17 what do you say?
18 say no more
19 you can say that again!
20 you said it!
21 who says?
22 who can say?
23 you don't say!
24 say when
25 say cheese
26 (just) say the word
27 I'll say this/that (much) for somebody
28 say what you like
29 anything/whatever you say
30 can't say fairer than that
31 I wouldn't say no (to something)
32 I'll say!
33 let's just say
34 shall I/we say
35 what have you got to say for yourself?
36 say what?
37 I say
38 say something to somebody's face
39 that's not saying much
40 something says it all
41 to say the least
42 that is to say
43 that is not to say
44 not to say
45 nothing/something/not much etc to be said for (doing) something
46 to say nothing of something
47 have something to say about something
48 have a lot to say for yourself
49 not have much to say for yourself
50 what somebody says goes
51 say your piece
[: Old English; Origin: secgan]
1.) ¦(EXPRESS SOMETHING IN WORDS)¦ [I only in negatives, T]
to express an idea, feeling, thought etc using words
'I'm so tired,' she said.
'Don't cry,' he said softly.
Don't believe anything he says.
say (that)
A spokesman said that the company had improved its safety standards.
I always said I would buy a motorbike when I had enough money.
say how/why/who etc
Did she say what happened?
I would like to say how much we appreciate your hard work.
'Why did she leave?' 'I don't know - she didn't say .'
say sth to sb
What did you say to her?
a terrible/silly/strange etc thing to say
What a silly thing to say!
say hello/goodbye/thank you etc
(=say something to greet someone, thank someone etc)
She left without saying goodbye.
say you're sorry
I've said I'm sorry - what more do you want?
say yes/no (to sth)
(=agree or refuse)
Can I go, Mum? Oh please say yes!
say nothing/anything/sth (about sth)
He looked as if he was going to say something.
I wished I had said nothing about Jordi.
have anything/nothing/sth to say
Does anyone else have anything to say?
Although he didn't say so , it was clear that he was in pain.
What makes you say that (=why do you think that) ?
say to do sth
(=tell someone to do something)
Nina said to meet her at 4.30.
I'd like to say a few words (=make a short speech) .
'So what are your plans now?' ' I'd rather not say .'
2.) ¦(GIVE INFORMATION)¦ [T not in passive]
to give information in the form of written words, numbers, or pictures - used about signs, clocks, letters, messages etc
The sign said 'Back in 10 minutes'.
The clock said twenty past three.
say (that)
He received a letter saying that the appointment had been cancelled.
say to do sth
(=gives information about what you should do)
The label says to take one tablet before meals.
say who/what/how etc
The card doesn't even say who sent the flowers.
It says here they have live music.
3.) ¦(MEAN)¦ [T usually in progressive]
used to talk about what someone means
What do you think the writer is trying to say in this passage?
So what you're saying is, there's none left.
be saying (that)
Are you saying I'm fat?
I'm not saying it's a bad idea.
All I'm saying is that it might be better to wait a while.
a) used to talk about something that people think is true
they say/people say/ it is said (that)
They say that she has been all over the world.
It is said that he was a spy during the war.
sb is said to be sth/do sth
He's said to be the richest man in the world.
Well, you know what they say - blood's thicker than water.
The rest, as they say, is history.
a) to show clearly that something is true about someone or something's character
The kind of car you drive says what kind of person you are.
The fact that she never apologized says a lot about (=shows something very clearly) what kind of person she is.
It said a lot for the manager that the team remained confident despite losing (=it showed that he is good) .
These results don't say much for the quality of teaching (=they show that it is not very good) .
b) to show what someone really is feeling or thinking, especially without using words
The look on her face said 'I love you'.
sth says everything/says it all
His expression said it all.
to speak the words that are written in a play, poem, or prayer
Can you say that line again, this time with more feeling?
I'll say a prayer for you.
7.) ¦(PRONOUNCE)¦ [T]
to pronounce a word or sound
How do you say your last name?
8.) ¦(SUGGEST/SUPPOSE SOMETHING)¦ [T usually in imperative]
used when suggesting or supposing that something might happen or be true
... say ...
If we put out, say, twenty chairs, would that be enough?
let's say (that)/just say (that)
Let's say your plan fails, then what?
Just say you won the lottery - what would you do?
9.) say to yourself
to try to persuade yourself that something is true or not true
I kept saying to myself that this wasn't really happening.
10.) spoken I must say also I have to say
used to emphasize what you are saying
The cake does look good, I must say.
I have to say I was impressed at the way they dealt with the situation.
11.) spoken I can't say (that)
used to say that you do not think or feel something
I can't say I envy her being married to him!
12.) spoken I would say
used for giving your opinion even though other people may not agree
I'd say he was jealous.
13.) spoken I couldn't say
used when you do not know the answer to something
I couldn't say who will win.
14.) spoken if I may say so also if I might say so
formal used to be polite when saying something that may embarrass or offend the person you are talking to
That's just the point, Mr Glover, if I may say so.
15.) spoken having said that
used to say that something is true in spite of what you have just said
The diet can make you slim without exercise. Having said that, however, exercise is important too.
16.) spoken wouldn't you say?
used to ask someone whether they agree with the statement you have just made
It seems very unlikely, wouldn't you say?
17.) spoken what do you say?
used to ask someone if they agree with a suggestion
We could go into partnership - what do you say?
What do you say we all go to a movie?
What would you say to a meal out?
18.) spoken say no more
used to say that you understand what someone means, although they have not said it directly
'I saw him leaving her house at 6.30 this morning.' 'Say no more!'
19.) spoken you can say that again!
used to say that you completely agree with someone
'It's cold in here.' 'You can say that again!'
20.) spoken you said it!
a) used when someone says something that you agree with, although you would not have actually said it yourself because it is not polite
'I was always stubborn as a kid.' 'You said it!'
b) especially AmE used to say that you agree with someone
'Let's go home.' 'You said it! I'm tired.'
21.) spoken who says?
used to say that you do not agree with a statement, opinion etc
Who says museum work doesn't pay?
22.) spoken who can say? also who's to say
used to say that nobody can know something
Who can say what will happen between now and then?
Many women believe that skin cream makes their skin look younger, and who's to say that they're wrong?
23.) spoken you don't say!
used to show you are surprised by what someone has told you - also often used when you are not at all surprised by what someone has told you
24.) spoken say when
used to ask someone to tell you when to stop pouring them a drink or serving them food because they have got enough
25.) spoken say cheese
used to tell people to smile when you are taking their photograph
26.) spoken (just) say the word
used to tell someone that they have only to ask and you will do what they want
Anywhere you want to go, just say the word.
27.) spoken I'll say this/that (much) for sb
used when you want to mention something good about someone, especially when you have been criticizing them
I will say this for Tom - at least he's consistent.
You've got determination - I'll say that for you.
28.) spoken say what you like
especially BrE used when giving an opinion that you are sure is correct, even if the person you are talking to might disagree with you
Say what you like about him, he's a very good writer.
29.) spoken anything/whatever you say
used to tell someone that you agree to do what they want, accept their opinion etc, especially because you do not want an argument
30.) spoken can't say fairer than that
BrE used to say that you have made the best offer that you can
If I win, I'll buy you a drink. Can't say fairer than that.
31.) spoken I wouldn't say no (to sth)
used to say that you would like something
I wouldn't say no to coffee.
32.) spoken I'll say!
used to say yes to a question, in a strong way
'Was there a big argument?' 'I'll say!'
33.) spoken let's just say
used when you do not want to give a lot of details about something
Let's just say she wasn't very pleased about it.
34.) spoken shall I/we say
used when you are not quite sure how to describe someone or something
He is, shall we say, slightly unusual.
35.) spoken what have you got to say for yourself?
used to ask someone for an explanation when they have done something wrong
36.) spoken say what?
informal especially AmE used when you did not hear what someone said or when you cannot believe that something is true
37.) spoken I say
BrE old-fashioned
a) used to get someone's attention
I say, don't I know you?
b) used before giving your reaction to something
'My husband's broken his leg.' 'I say! I'm sorry to hear that.'
38.) say sth to sb's face informal
to criticize someone or say something unpleasant directly to them instead of saying it to someone else
I knew they wanted me to leave even though they wouldn't say it to my face.
39.) that's not saying much
used to say that it is not surprising that someone or something is better than another person or thing because the other person or thing is so bad
This version is better than the original but that's not saying much.
40.) sth says it all
if something says it all, it clearly shows how someone feels or what a situation is really like
Her smile said it all.
41.) to say the least
used to say that you could have described something, criticized someone etc a lot more severely than you have
Jane could have been more considerate, to say the least.
42.) that is to say
used before giving more details or being more exact about something
They, that's to say Matt and John, were arguing about what to do.
43.) that is not to say
used to make sure the person you are talking to does not think something that is not true
I'm quite happy in my job but that's not to say I'm going to do it for the rest of my life.
44.) not to say
especially BrE used when adding a stronger description of something
The information is inadequate, not to say misleading.
45.) nothing/sth/not much etc to be said for (doing) sth
used to say that there are a lot of or not many advantages to something
There's a lot to be said for taking a few days off now and then.
It was a town with very little to be said for it.
46.) to say nothing of sth
used to mention another thing involved in what you have just been talking about
It wasn't much for three years' work, to say nothing of the money it had cost.
47.) have sth to say about sth
to be angry about something
Her father would have something to say about it.
48.) have a lot to say for yourself
to talk a lot
49.) not have much to say for yourself
to not talk very much
50.) what sb says goes
used to emphasize who is in control in a situation
My wife wants to go to Italy this year, and what she says goes!
51.) say your piece
to give your opinion about something, especially something you do not like
wouldn't say boo to a goose atboo2 (3), easier said than done ateasy2 (4), enough said atenough2 (6), it goes without saying at go without(2), needless to say atneedless, no sooner said than done atsoon, not say/breathe a word atword1 (9), well said atwell1 (13), when all's said and done atall1 (17)
WORD CHOICE:say, tell, give, ask
You use say when you are mentioning someone's exact words : 'Hello,' she said. | Someone said, 'Let's go!'
Say can be followed by 'that' : He said that he was tired. In speech people often leave out 'that' |They said there had been a mistake.
Say can be followed by 'something', 'anything', 'nothing', or 'so' : Did you say something? | Nobody dared to say anything. | You have to come - Dad said so.
It can also be followed by 'goodbye' or 'hello' : I'll just go and say hello to David.
Apart from these uses, say is not normally followed by an object. For example, it cannot be followed by 'a story', 'a lie', 'some information', or 'an answer'.
You tell a story, a joke, a lie, or the truth : They told a funny story about their trip.
You give information, an order, an instruction, or an answer : He gave no reply.
!! You do not say a question. You ask a question : Can I ask a question?
You can say something to someone : Has he said something to you?
When talking about giving information, it is more usual to say that you tell someone something : Clare told us something interesting (NOT said us something...). | Can anyone tell me what time it is? (NOT say to me what...)
You can tell someone about something : Did you tell Lucy about the party? (NOT say to Lucy about...)
You can say to do something, but it is more usual to tell someone to do something : The teacher told us to open our books (NOT said us/said to us to...).
say 2
say2 n [singular, U]
1.) the right to take part in deciding something
have some/no/little say in sth
The workers had no say in how the factory was run.
The chairman has the final say (=has the right to make the final decision about something) .
2.) have your say
to have the opportunity to give your opinion about something
You'll get a chance to have your say.
have your say in/on
Parents can have their say in the decision-making process.
say 3
say3 interjection AmE informal
used to express surprise, or to get someone's attention so that you can tell them something
Say, haven't I seen you before somewhere?

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • SAY (J.-B.) — On reconnaît aujourd’hui en Say l’un des promoteurs de la pensée libérale. Les questions qu’il a posées, encore discutées dans tous les pays, comme sa fameuse «loi des débouchés », dépassent le cadre de l’histoire des idées économiques. D’autres… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • say — [sā] vt. SAID, saying; 3d pers. sing., pres. indic., says, said [sez] [ME seien (< orig. 3d pers. sing., pres. indic.), seggen < OE secgan, akin to sagu, a saying, tale (ON saga), Ger sagen, to say < IE base * sekw , to note, see, show,… …   English World dictionary

  • Say — is to communicate orally. It can also refer to: * Say (song), by John Mayer from the film The Bucket List * Say (Ryan Cabrera song), by Ryan Cabrera from the album The Moon Under Water *Say, Niger *Say (software), a Macintosh command line program …   Wikipedia

  • Say — Say, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Said} (s[e^]d), contracted from sayed; p. pr. & vb. n. {Saying}.] [OE. seggen, seyen, siggen, sayen, sayn, AS. secgan; akin to OS. seggian, D. zeggen, LG. seggen, OHG. sag[=e]n, G. sagen, Icel. segja, Sw. s[ a]ga, Dan.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • say — vb Say, utter, tell, state are comparable when they mean to put into words. Say often means merely to articulate or pronounce {say the words after me} {the baby has not yet learned to say mama or daddy } or is used in reporting something voiced… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • say — ► VERB (says; past and past part. said) 1) utter words so as to convey information, an opinion, an instruction, etc. 2) (of a text or symbol) convey information or instructions. 3) (of a clock or watch) indicate (a time). 4) (be said) be asserted …   English terms dictionary

  • Say — bezeichnet folgende Orte: ein Departement in Niger, siehe Say (Departement) eine Stadt in Niger, siehe Say (Niger) Say ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Fazil Say (* 1970), türkischer Pianist und Komponist Jean Baptiste Say (1767–1832),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • say — 1. In ordinary use say occurs as a noun only in the expression have a say (or variants of it such as have a bigger say). 2. The use of say as an imperative in uses such as • Let s meet soon say next Friday is an established idiom. 3. The… …   Modern English usage

  • Say OK — «Say Ok» Sencillo de Vanessa Hudgens del álbum V Género(s) Bubblegum pop Duración 3:41 (Versión Álbum) Discográfica Hollywood Records …   Wikipedia Español

  • Say — (s[=a]), n. [Aphetic form of assay.] 1. Trial by sample; assay; sample; specimen; smack. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] If those principal works of God . . . be but certain tastes and says, as it were, of that final benefit. Hooker. [1913 Webster] Thy… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Say — Say, n. [From {Say}, v. t.; cf. {Saw} a saying.] A speech; something said; an expression of opinion; a current story; a maxim or proverb. [Archaic or Colloq.] [1913 Webster] He no sooner said out his say, but up rises a cunning snap. L Estrange.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English