Definition for SAY

SAY, v.t. [pret. and pp. said, contracted from sayed. Sax. sægan, sacgan; G. sagen; D. zeggen; Sw. säga; Dan. siger; Ch. סוח or סח, to speak or say. The same verb in Arabic, سَاخَ sauga, signifies to sink, Goth. sigcan. The sense of the root is to throw or thrust. Class Sg, No. 28. Pers. sachan, a word, speech.]

  1. To speak; to utter in words; as, he said nothing; he said many things; he says not a word. Say a good word for me. It is observable that although this word is radically synonymous with speak and tell, yet the uses or applications of these words are different. Thus we say, to speak an oration, to tell a story; but in these phrases, say can not be used. Yet to say a lesson is good English, though not very elegant. We never use the phrases, to say a sermon or discourse, to say an argument, to say a speech, to say testimony. A very general use of say is to introduce a relation, narration or recital, either of the speaker himself or of something said or done or to be done by another. Thus Adam said, this is bone of my bone; Noah said, blessed be the Lord God of Shem. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Say to the cities of Judah, behold your God. I can not say what I should do in a similar case. Say thus precedes a sentence. But it is perhaps impracticable to reduce the peculiar and appropriate uses of say, speak and tell to general rules. They can be learnt only by observation.
  2. To declare. – Gen. xxxvii.
  3. To utter; to pronounce. Say now Shibboleth. – Judg. xii.
  4. To utter, as a command. God said, let there be light. – Gen. i.
  5. To utter, as a promise. – Luke xxiii.
  6. To utter, as a question or answer. Mark xi.
  7. To affirm; to teach. – Matth. xvii.
  8. To confess. – Luke xvii.
  9. To testify. – Acts xxiv.
  10. To argue; to alledge by way of argument. After all that can be said against a thing. – Tillotson.
  11. To repeat; to rehearse; to recite; as, to say a lesson.
  12. To pronounce; to recite without singing. Then shall be said or sung as follows.
  13. To report; as, in the phrases, it is said, they say.
  14. To answer; to utter by way of reply; to tell. Say, Stella, feel you no content, Reflecting on a life well spent? – Swift. Note. This verb is not properly intransitive. In the phrase, “as when we say, Plato is no fool,” the last clause is the object after the verb; that is, “we say what follows.” If this verb is properly intransitive in any case, it is in the phrase, “that is to say,” but in such cases, the subsequent clause is the object of the verb, being that which is said, uttered or related.

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