KJV Dictionary Definition: say


SAY, v.t. pret. and pp. said, contracted from sayed.

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 are applications of these words are different. Thus we say, to speak an oration, to tell a story; but in these phrases, say cannot 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 cannot 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 learned only by observation.

2. To declare. Gen. 38.

3. To utter; to pronounce.

Say now Shibboleth. Judges 12.

4. To utter, as a command.

God said, let there be light. Gen. 1.

5. To utter, as a promise. Luke 23.

6. To utter, as a question or answer. Mark 11.

7. To affirm; to teach. Matt. 17.

8. To confess. Luke 17.

9. To testify. Acts 26.

10. To argue; to allege by way of argument.

After all that can be said against a thing -

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?

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.

SAY, n. A speech; something said. In popular use, but not elegant.

SAY, n. for assay.

1. A sample. Obs.

2. Trial by sample. Obs.

SAY, n. A thin silk. Obs.



SA'YING, ppr. Uttering in articulate sounds or words; speaking; telling; relating; reciting.


1. An expression; a sentence uttered; a declaration.

Moses fled at this saying. Acts 7.

Cicero treasured up the sayings of Scaevola.

2. A proverbial expression. Many are the sayings of the wise.