[tawk] /tɔk/

verb (used without object)
to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking:
to talk about poetry.
to consult or confer:
Talk with your adviser.
to spread a rumor or tell a confidence; gossip.
to chatter or prate.
to employ speech; perform the act of speaking:
to talk very softly; to talk into a microphone.
to deliver a speech, lecture, etc.:
The professor talked on the uses of comedy in the tragedies of Shakespeare.
to give or reveal confidential or incriminating information:
After a long interrogation, the spy finally talked.
to communicate ideas by means other than speech, as by writing, signs, or signals.
Computers. to transmit data, as between computers or between a computer and a terminal.
to make sounds imitative or suggestive of speech.
verb (used with object)
to express in words; utter:
to talk sense.
to use (a specified language or idiom) in speaking or conversing:
They talk French together for practice.
to discuss:
to talk politics.
Informal. (used only in progressive tenses) to focus on; signify or mean; talk about:
This isn’t a question of a few hundred dollars—we’re talking serious money.
to bring, put, drive, influence, etc., by talk:
to talk a person to sleep; to talk a person into doing something.
the act of talking; speech; conversation, especially of a familiar or informal kind.
an informal speech or lecture.
a conference or negotiating session:
peace talks.
report or rumor; gossip:
There is a lot of talk going around about her.
a subject or occasion of talking, especially of gossip:
Your wild escapades are the talk of the neighborhood.
mere empty speech:
That’s just a lot of talk.
a way of talking:
a halting, lisping talk.
language, dialect, or lingo.
signs or sounds imitative or suggestive of speech, as the noise made by loose parts in a mechanism.
Verb phrases
talk around, to bring (someone) over to one’s way of thinking; persuade:
She sounded adamant over the phone, but I may still be able to talk her around.
talk at,

talk away, to spend or consume (time) in talking:
We talked away the tedious hours in the hospital.
talk back, to reply to a command, request, etc., in a rude or disrespectful manner:
Her father never allowed them to talk back.
talk down,

talk down to, to speak condescendingly to; patronize:
Children dislike adults who talk down to them.
talk of, to debate as a possibility; discuss:
The two companies have been talking of a merger.
talk out,

talk over,

talk up,

talk big, Informal. to speak boastingly; brag:
He always talked big, but never amounted to anything.
talk someone’s head / ear off, to bore or weary someone by excessive talk; talk incessantly:
All I wanted was a chance to read my book, but my seatmate talked my ear off.
talk to death,

(intransitive; often foll by to or with) to express one’s thoughts, feelings, or desires by means of words (to); speak (to)
(intransitive) to communicate or exchange thoughts by other means: lovers talk with their eyes
(intransitive) usually foll by about. to exchange ideas, pleasantries, or opinions (about): to talk about the weather
(intransitive) to articulate words; verbalize: his baby can talk
(transitive) to give voice to; utter: to talk rubbish
(transitive) to hold a conversation about; discuss: to talk business
(intransitive) to reveal information: the prisoner talked after torture
(transitive) to know how to communicate in (a language or idiom): he talks English
(intransitive) to spread rumours or gossip: we don’t want the neighbours to talk
(intransitive) to make sounds suggestive of talking
(intransitive) to be effective or persuasive: money talks
(informal) now you’re talking, at last you’re saying something agreeable
talk big, to boast or brag
talk shop, to speak about one’s work, esp when meeting socially, sometimes with the effect of excluding those not similarly employed
talk the talk, to speak convincingly on a particular subject, showing apparent mastery of its jargon and themes; often used in combination with the expression walk the walk See also walk (sense 18b)
(informal) you can talk, you don’t have to worry about doing a particular thing yourself
(informal) you can’t talk, you yourself are guilty of offending in the very matter you are decrying
a speech or lecture: a talk on ancient Rome
an exchange of ideas or thoughts: a business talk with a colleague
idle chatter, gossip, or rumour: there has been a lot of talk about you two
a subject of conversation; theme: our talk was of war
(often pl) a conference, discussion, or negotiation: talks about a settlement
a specific manner of speaking: children’s talk

early 13c., talken, probably a diminutive or frequentative form related to Middle English tale “story,” ultimately from the same source as tale (cf. hark from hear, stalk from steal) and replacing that word as a verb. East Frisian has talken “to talk, chatter, whisper.” Related: Talked; talking.

To talk shop is from 1854. To talk turkey is from 1824, supposedly from an elaborate joke about a swindled Indian. To talk back “answer impudently or rudely” is from 1869. Phrase talking head is by 1966 in the jargon of television production, “an in-tight closeup of a human head talking on television.” In reference to a person who habitually appears on television in talking-head shots (usually a news anchor), by 1970. The phrase is used earlier, in reference to the well-known magic trick (e.g. Senior Wences talking head-in-the-box trick on the “Ed Sullivan Show”), and to actual talking heads in mythology around the world (e.g. Orpheus, Bran).

late 15c., “speech, discourse, conversation,” from talk (v.). Meaning “informal lecture or address” is from 1859. Talk of the town first recorded 1620s. Talk show first recorded 1965; talk radio is from 1985.

Related Terms

fish story
chat, tool, networking, messaging
A Unix program and protocol supporting conversation between two or more users who may be logged into the same computer or different computers on a network. Variants include ntalk, ytalk, and ports or emulators of these programs for other platforms.
Unix has the talk program and protocol and its variants xtalk and ytalk for the X Window System; VMS has phone; Windows for Workgroups has chat. ITS also has a talk system. These split the screen into separate areas for each user.
Unix’s write command can also be used, though it does not attempt to separate input and output on the screen.
Users of such systems are said to be in talk mode which has many conventional abbreviations and idioms. Most of these survived into chat jargon, but many fell out of common use with the migration of user prattle from talk-like systems to chat systems in the early 1990s. These disused talk-specific forms include:
“BYE?” – are you ready to close the conversation? This is the standard way to end a talk-mode conversation; the other person types “BYE” to confirm, or else continues the conversation.
“JAM”/”MIN” – just a minute
“O” – “over” (I have stopped talking). Also “/” as in x/y – x over y, or two newlines (the latter being the most common).
“OO” – “over and out” – end of conversation.
“\” – Greek lambda.
“R U THERE?” – are you there?
“SEC” – wait a second.
“/\/\/” – laughter. But on a MUD, this usually means “earthquake fault”.
See also talk bomb.
total alkalinity


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