I UK [seɪ] / US verb
Word forms "say":
present tense I/you/we/they say he/she/it says UK [sez] / US present participle saying past tense said UK [sed] / US past participle said
Get it right: say:
Unlike the verb tell, the verb say is never used with a personal object. If you want to refer to a personal object after say, use the preposition to:
Wrong: Perhaps people misunderstand what I want to say them in English.
Right: Perhaps people misunderstand what I want to say to them in English.
Wrong: He wanted to be examined by a civilian doctor after an army doctor had said him that it was serious.
Right: He wanted to be examined by a civilian doctor after an army doctor had said to him that it was serious. The object of the verb say is usually direct speech or a that-clause which reports what someone has said: "That's not true!" she said, but her voice betrayed her. Climate experts say that by 2100 rainfall levels in some areas may rise to five times what they are today. Don't use tell in structures like this:
Wrong: He told that the Japanese representatives tend to be less confident about speaking English.
Right: He said that the Japanese representatives tend to be less confident about speaking English.  tell
1) [intransitive/transitive] to express something using words

"Pleased to meet you," he said with a smile.

"When's he coming back?" "He didn't say."

say (that):

She said that she liked dancing.

say how/what/who etc:

Did he say who called?

say something to someone:

Tell me what he said to you.

say hello/goodbye etc (to someone):

Say hello to Jenny for me!

say sorry (to someone for something):

I've already said sorry for hurting his feelings.

say yes/no (to someone/something) (= give/refuse permission):

The committee said yes, so we can go ahead.

a horrible/stupid/strange etc thing to say:

What an odd thing to say, Carrie thought.

say something on/about:

I want to say something on this subject.

a) [transitive] to think something, or to have a particular opinion

I think we should stop now. What do you say?

say (that):

He always said you'd be rich and famous one day.

I say we go (= I think we should go) by car: it's quicker than the train.

would say so/not (= think it is likely/unlikely):

"Will she meet the deadline?" "I would say so."

b) if people say something or if something is said, it is the opinion of a lot of people
they/people say (that):

They say laughter is the best medicine.

as they say:

Time, as they say, is a great healer.

be said to do something:

She is said to have great talent as an artist.

The castle is said to be haunted.

it is said (that):

It is said that he was introduced to the king by a wealthy cousin.

a) [transitive, usually progressive] to mean something by a statement
say (that):

We are not saying that taxpayers should pay more.

Is she saying she hasn't got any homework?

b) to have a particular meaning for someone
say something to someone:

This music says nothing to me.

4) [transitive] to give information or orders in writing, numbers, pictures etc

My watch says quarter to twelve.

say (that):

Her letter says she's arriving at midday.

The rules say that we need a two-thirds majority to win.

say how/when/what etc:

Does it say on the box how much it costs?

5) [transitive] to show indirectly what someone or something is like
say something about someone/something:

Your home says a lot about you.

This incident says something about the way the company is run.

6) [transitive, usually in imperative] to imagine what will happen in a particular situation

Say you get £2,000 for the car – you'll still need another thousand.

7) [transitive] to use something as a possible example

Why don't we have a break until, let's say, 10.45?

8) [transitive] informal to tell someone to do something
say to do something:

Mum said to do the dishes.

9) [transitive] to repeat the words of something such as a prayer or speech that you have learned previously

They lit candles and said prayers for the dead.

someone can't say (something)spoken a polite way of saying that you do not know something; spoken a polite way of saying that you do not want to give information to someone; spoken used for saying that you do not have a particular opinion

We can't say when the train will arrive.

We can't say what's in the report – it's highly confidential.

I can't say I blame you for being annoyed.

go without saying (that) — to be completely obvious or true

It goes without saying that I'm sorry.

have something to say to someone/about something — to be angry with someone or about something

"Uh-oh," said Jimmy. "Mum's going to have something to say to you."

The boss will have something to say about this.

have something/a lot/nothing etc to say for yourself — to be fairly/very/not at all keen to talk, especially about yourself and your reasons for doing something

He didn't have a lot to say for himself.

She's always got far too much to say for herself.

I must say (that)= I have to say (that) spoken — used for emphasizing a statement

I'm not very impressed, I must say.

I must say that the standard of play was abysmal.

I wouldn't say no (to something)spoken used for admitting that you would like something, especially something that has been offered to you

I wouldn't say no to another piece of cake.

if I may say (so)spoken formal used for introducing a personal comment when you know that the person you are speaking to may find this offensive

I think, if I may say so, that this isn't the right thing to do.

(just) say the wordspoken used for telling someone that you are ready to do something for them as soon as they ask

We can go whenever you like. Just say the word.

say a lot/very little etc for — to show that someone or something has a lot/very little etc of a particular quality

It says a lot for him that he never gave up.

It doesn't say much for my powers of observation that I had no idea what was going on.

say this/that for someone — used for admitting that someone who you do not approve of has a good quality

I'll say this for her: she's never lied to me.

He's very clever: you have to say that for him.

say what you like (about)spoken used for mentioning a good quality of someone or something that is not liked or approved of by other people

Say what you like about him, he knows how to run a business.

shall I/we sayspoken formal used for making a statement or criticism seem less severe or offensive

His loyalty to that man is, shall we say, misguided.

that's/it's easier said than done — used for telling someone that what they are advising you to do is not easy to achieve

He told me not to worry, but that's easier said than done.

that's not to say (that) — used for adding a statement that corrects what you have just said or makes it less definite

So far, no one's been sacked, but that's not to say it won't happen.

there's something/a lot/not much etc to be said for something — used for saying that there are some/many/few etc advantages in doing something

There's something to be said for his approach to the problem.

though/if I say it myself= though/if I say so myself — used when you do not want to seem too proud of your own ability or achievement

Although I say it myself, I think I'm rather good at this.

what do you say I/we do something?spoken used for making a suggestion

What do you say we get a flat together?

what have you got to say for yourself?spoken used for asking someone what explanation or excuse they have for their bad behaviour

what would someone say to something?spoken used for asking whether someone would accept a suggestion

What would you say to a nice long holiday?

who can say?spoken used for saying that no one knows the answer to a particular question or knows what will happen in the future

Who can say what will happen to the company?

who says?spoken used for expressing disagreement with a statement, opinion etc

"But you won't get the job anyway." "Who says I won't?"

who's/what's to say (that)?spoken used for saying that something is not certain because no one knows exactly what has happened or what is going to happen

Who's to say he wouldn't have said yes if he'd known?

boo II, no I, sooner

II UK [seɪ] / US noun [singular/uncountable]
the right to give your opinion and be involved in a discussion about something
have a say in something:

The council made the decision. We had no say in the matter.

have a say on/over something:

Residents are being given a chance to have a say on the future of their town.

III UK [seɪ] / US interjection mainly American informal
1) used for expressing surprise

Say, that's a great idea!

2) used for getting someone's attention before you ask a question or make a suggestion or remark

Say, are you OK?

English dictionary. 2014.

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