a speech given to a group of people to teach or tell them about a particular subject
He gave a talk about/on his visit to America.
1 when two or more people talk about something:
Dave and I had a long talk about the problem.
The two countries are holding talks to try and end the war.
2 when a person speaks to a group of people:
Professor Wilson gave an interesting talk on Chinese art.
II. talk2 S1 W1 BrE AmE noun
[Word Family: noun: ↑talk, talks, ↑talker; verb: ↑talk; adjective: ↑talkative]
1. CONVERSATION [countable] a conversation:
After a long talk, we decided on divorce.
John, I’d like to have a talk with you.
We must have a talk about money.
2. DISCUSSION talks [plural] formal discussions between governments, organizations etc
peace/trade etc talks
The peace talks look promising.
The president held talks with Chinese officials.
Talks with the rebels have failed.
3. SPEECH [countable] a speech:
an entertaining talk
a talk on local history
give/do/deliver a talk
Dr. Howard will give a talk on herbal medicine.
4. NEWS [uncountable] information or news that people talk about and hear about a lot, but that is not official
Tickets sold so quickly there’s talk of a second concert.
talk of doing something
the administration’s talk of reducing weapons
There’s talk that she’s difficult to work with.
It’s just talk. He’ll never do it.
5. TYPE OF CONVERSATION [uncountable] type of conversation:
That’s enough of that kind of talk.
persuasive sales talk
That’s fighting talk (=brave and confident words) from Italy’s manager.
6. be all talk spoken someone who is all talk talks a lot about what they intend to do, but never actually does it
7. be the talk of the town/Paris etc someone who is the talk of the town has done something bad, shocking, exciting etc and everyone is talking about them:
She’s the talk of London’s theatre-goers since her last performance.
8. talk is cheap used to say that you do not believe someone will do what they say
⇨ ↑pep talk, ↑small talk, ⇨ idle talk at ↑idle1(2), ⇨ pillow talk at ↑pillow1(3)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
▪ have a talk I must have a talk with Frank before I leave.
▪ a long talk I had a long talk with Nora this morning.
▪ a little talk I’m glad we’ve had this little talk.
▪ a serious talk Before she went to college, her father sat her down for a serious talk.
▪ a quiet/private talk She asked if she could have a private talk.
▪ a good talk (=a long talk about important or interesting things) She was upset, but we’ve had a good talk and things are okay now.
▪ a nice talk We all had lunch together and a nice talk.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
▪ have/hold talks He called on the rebels to hold talks with the government.
▪ enter into talks (=start having talks) The Ambassador stated that France was prepared to enter into talks on the issue.
▪ talks begin Talks began in October and Venezuela said it expects an agreement to be signed soon.
▪ talks continue/are underway Talks will continue through the weekend.
▪ talks break down/collapse (=stop because of disagreement) Talks broke down today between the Russian and Japanese delegations.
▪ talks resume/are resumed Talks resumed in Geneva on April 19 after a month’s break.
▪ talks end The talks ended without a settlement being reached.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + talks
▪ peace talks All four Arab delegations walked out of the Middle East peace talks yesterday.
▪ trade talks Trade talks between the EU and the Americans have once again collapsed.
▪ high-level talks (=involving important people) The announcement came after a morning of high-level talks.
▪ budget talks The dollar fell as U.S. budget talks appeared unlikely to produce an agreement.
▪ direct talks The President declared that he was now prepared to enter into direct talks with the rebels.
▪ bilateral talks (=involving two groups or countries) Bilateral talks led to the resumption of diplomatic relations.
▪ round-table talks (=when everyone can discuss things in an equal way) An election law, agreed during round-table talks, gave every voter the right to two votes.
▪ urgent talks The Prime Minister called ministers together for urgent talks.
▪ crisis talks (=talks to stop a situation getting worse or more dangerous) The unions will hold crisis talks with the company in a bid to save jobs.
▪ a round of talks (=a series of talks that is part of a longer process) A third round of talks was held in May.
▪ the breakdown/collapse of talks The collapse of the talks sent shock waves round the world.
1. countable ~ (with sb) (about sth) a conversation or discussion
• I had a long talk with my boss about my career prospects.
• We need to have a serious talk about money matters.
• I had to have a heart-to-heart talk with her.
• She looked worried so we had a talk.
2. talks plural formal discussions between governments or organizations
• arms/pay/peace, etc. talks
• to hold talks
• ~ (between A and B) (on/over sth) Talks between management and workers broke down over the issue of holiday pay.
• High-level talks on arms limitation will reopen next month.
• A further round of talks will be needed if the dispute is to be resolved.
• Union representatives walked out of emergency talks aimed at reaching a pay settlement.
3. countable ~ (on sth) a speech or lecture on a particular subject
• She gave a talk on her visit to China.
WORDS WITHOUT ACTIONS
4. uncountable (informal) words that are spoken, but without the necessary facts or actions to support them
• It's just talk. He'd never carry out his threats.
• Don't pay any attention to her— she's all talk.
5. uncountable ~ (of sth/of doing sth) | ~ (that…) stories that suggest a particular thing might happen in the future
• There was talk in Washington of sending in troops.
• She dismissed the stories of her resignation as newspaper talk.
• There's talk that he's a difficult actor to work with.
TOPIC/WAY OF SPEAKING
6. uncountable (often in compounds) a topic of conversation or a way of speaking
• business talk
• She said it was just girl talk that a man wouldn't understand.
• The book teaches you how to understand Spanish street talk (= slang).
• It was tough talk, coming from a man who had begun the year in a hospital bed.
see also small talk, sweet talk, trash talk
more at fighting talk at fight v.
Middle English: frequentative verb from the Germanic base of tale or tell.
conversation • dialogue • talk • debate • consultation • chat • gossip
These are all words for an occasion when people talk about sth.
discussion • a detailed conversation about sth that is considered to be important: ▪ Discussions are still taking place between the two leaders.
conversation • a talk, usually a private or informal one, involving two people or a small group; the activity of talking in this way: ▪ a telephone conversation
dialogue • conversations in a book, play or film: ▪ The novel has long descriptions and not much dialogue. A dialogue is also a formal discussion between two groups, especially when they are trying to solve a problem or end a dispute: ▪ The President told waiting reporters there had been a constructive dialogue.
talk • a conversation or discussion, often one about a problem or sth important for the people involved: ▪ I had a long talk with my boss about my career prospects.
debate • a formal discussion of an issue at a public meeting or in a parliament. In a debate two or more speakers express opposing views and then there is often a vote on the issue: ▪ a debate on prison reform
consultation • a formal discussion between groups of people before a decision is made about sth: ▪ There have been extensive consultations between the two countries.
chat • a friendly informal conversation; informal talking. The countable use of chat is especially British English: ▪ I just called in for a chat about the kids.
gossip • a conversation about other people and their private lives: ▪ We had a good gossip about the boss.
a discussion/conversation/dialogue/talk/debate/consultation/chat/gossip about sth
a discussion/conversation/dialogue/debate/consultation on sth
in (close) discussion/conversation/dialogue/debate/consultation with sb
to have a discussion/conversation/dialogue/talk/debate/consultation/chat/gossip with sb
to hold a discussion/conversation/debate/consultation
lecture • address • talk • sermon
These are all words for a talk given to an audience.
speech • a formal talk given to an audience: ▪ Several people made speeches at the wedding.
lecture • a talk given to a group of people to tell them about a particular subject, often as part of a university or college course: ▪ a lecture on the Roman army ◊ ▪ a course/series of lectures
address • a formal speech given to an audience: ▪ a televised presidential address
speech or address?
A speech can be given on a public or private occasion; an address is always public: He gave an address at the wedding.
talk • a fairly informal session in which sb tells a group of people about a subject: ▪ She gave an interesting talk on her visit to China.
sermon • a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service: ▪ to preach a sermon
a long/short speech/lecture/address/talk/sermon
a keynote speech/lecture/address
to write/prepare/give/deliver/hear a(n) speech/lecture/address/talk/sermon
to attend/go to a lecture/talk
• A further round of talks is expected in March.
• All this talk of the boss resigning is nonsense!
• Did you go to the talk on Peru?
• Don't you get enough shop talk at work?
• For all the talk of bringing their children up the same, the boys ended up never doing any of the cooking.
• For all their talk of equality, the boys ended up not doing any cooking.
• He is currently in talks with two football clubs.
• He was never very good at making small talk with her parents.
• He's all talk. He's too scared to do anything.
• I enjoyed our talk about the old days.
• I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with her.
• I never used baby talk to my little girl.
• I will have to have a little talk with that young lady.
• Let me end my talk with a prediction.
• She gave a very entertaining talk entitled ‘My life and hard times’.
• She gave an illustrated talk on Roman architecture.
• She likes straight talk and hates hypocrites.
• Talk turned to money and tempers began to fray.
• Talks are being held over the political future of the province.
• Talks produced agreement on an end to the occupation.
• Talks were scheduled for Rome the following month.
• The US authorities have increased the war talk.
• The agreement was concluded during talks in Beijing.
• The chairman's boasts about future profits was just cheap talk.
• The delegation arrived for talks with their government.
• The peace talks will take place in Cairo.
• The president's true agenda was hidden in political double talk.
• The talks centred on bilateral trade.
• The talks foundered on the issue of compensation.
• The talks remain deadlocked over spending plans.
• The two governments held secret talks on the nuclear threat.
• The union has broken off talks with the management.
• There has been much public talk about bilingual education.
• There is open talk of a leadership challenge.
• There is ridiculous talk of her breaking the world record soon.
• There was excited talk of emigrating to America.
• We can have some girl talk until Joe gets here.
• What all the fine talk came down to was hard cash.
• You often hear talk of the north-south divide.
• the crusade against dirty talk on TV
• the failure of talks between the two communities
• the latest round of talks aimed at ending the civil war
• the pillow talk of lovers
• Every week the sales reps go to their manager's office for a team talk.
• I found the sales talk very persuasive.
• I had a long talk with my boss about my career prospects.
• She gave an interesting talk on her visit to China.
talk / tɔːk / / tɑːk / noun
B1 [ C ] a conversation between two people, often about a particular subject:
I asked him to have a talk with his mother about his plan.
B2 [ C ] a speech given to a group of people to teach or tell them about a particular subject:
He gave a talk about/on his visit to America.
talks C2 [ plural ] serious and formal discussions on an important subject, usually intended to produce decisions or agreements:
Talks were held in Madrid about the fuel crisis.
C2 [ U ] the action of talking about what might happen or be true, or the subject people are talking about:
Talk won't get us anywhere.
The talk/Her talk was all about the wedding.
Word partners for talk noun
have a talk ( with sb) • a talk about sth • a long / serious / short talk
Word partners for talks
begin / enter into / have / hold talks • resume / revive / reopen talks • talks take place • talks break down / collapse / fail / stall • talks aimed at doing sth • direct / face-to-face / secret / urgent talks • talks about / on sth • in talks ( with sb)
talks, talking, talked
1) VERB When you talk, you use spoken language to express your thoughts, ideas, or feelings.
He was too distressed to talk...
A teacher reprimanded a girl for talking in class...
The boys all began to talk at once...
Though she can't talk yet, she understands what is going on.
Talk is also a noun. That's not the kind of talk one usually hears from accountants.
2) V-RECIP If you talk to someone, you have a conversation with them. You can also say that two people talk.
[pl-n V] We talked and laughed a great deal...
[V to/with n] I talked to him yesterday...
A neighbour saw her talking with Craven...
[pl-n V about n] When she came back, they were talking about American food...
[V (non-recip)] Can't you see I'm talking? Don't interrupt. [Also V to n about n]
Talk is also a noun. We had a long talk about her father, Tony, who was a friend of mine.
3) V-RECIP If you talk to someone, you tell them about the things that are worrying you. You can also say that two people talk.
[V to n] Your first step should be to talk to a teacher or school counselor...
[V to n] There's no one she can talk to, and she's on the verge of collapse...
[pl-n V] We need to talk alone...
[V about n (non-recip)] Do ring if you want to talk about it...
[V (non-recip)] I have to sort some things out. We really needed to talk.
Talk is also a noun. I think it's time we had a talk.
4) VERB If you talk on or about something, you make an informal speech telling people what you know or think about it.
[V on/about n] She will talk on the issues she cares passionately about including education and nursery care...
[V to n] He intends to talk to young people about the dangers of AIDS.
N-COUNT: oft N on/about n
Talk is also a noun. A guide gives a brief talk on the history of the site... He then set about campaigning, giving talks and fund-raising.
5) N-PLURAL: oft N with/between n, N on/about n Talks are formal discussions intended to produce an agreement, usually between different countries or between employers and employees.
...the next round of Middle East peace talks...
Talks between striking railway workers and the Polish government have broken down...
They are holding hostages to try to force the authorities into talks on possible amnesties for drugs offences.
6) V-RECIP If one group of people talks to another, or if two groups talk, they have formal discussions in order to do a deal or produce an agreement.
[V to n about n/-ing] We're talking to some people about opening an office in London...
[V with/to n] The company talked with many potential investors...
[pl-n V] It triggered broad speculation that GM and Jaguar might be talking.
7) V-RECIP When different countries or different sides in a dispute talk, or talk to each other, they discuss their differences in order to try and settle the dispute.
[V to n] The Foreign Minister said he was ready to talk to any country that had no hostile intentions...
[pl-n V] They are collecting information in preparation for the day when the two sides sit down and talk...
[V to/with pron-recip] Croats and Serbs still aren't prepared to talk to each other...
[V (non-recip)] The speed with which the two sides came to the negotiating table shows that they are ready to talk.
8) VERB If people are talking about another person or are talking, they are discussing that person.
[V about/of n] Everyone is talking about him...
People will talk, but you have to get on with your life.
N-UNCOUNT: usu N about/of n/-ing, N that
Talk is also a noun. There has been a lot of talk about me getting married... There was even talk that charges of fraud would be brought.
9) VERB If someone talks when they are being held by police or soldiers, they reveal important or secret information, usually unwillingly.
They'll talk, they'll implicate me.
10) VERB: no passive If you talk a particular language or talk with a particular accent, you use that language or have that accent when you speak.
[V n] You don't sound like a foreigner talking English...
[V prep/adv] They were amazed that I was talking in an Irish accent.
11) VERB: no passive If you talk something such as politics or sport, you discuss it.
[V n] The guests were mostly middle-aged men talking business.
12) VERB You can use talk to say what you think of the ideas that someone is expressing. For example, if you say that someone is talking sense, you mean that you think the opinions they are expressing are sensible.
[V n] You must admit George, you're talking absolute rubbish.
13) VERB: no passive You can say that you are talking a particular thing to draw attention to your topic or to point out a characteristic of what you are discussing. [SPOKEN]
[V n] We're not talking ax murder here; we're talking poker machines or gambling - things that are misdemeanors in most states...
[V n] We're talking megabucks this time.
14) N-UNCOUNT If you say that something such as an idea or threat is just talk, or all talk, you mean that it does not mean or matter much, because people are exaggerating about it or do not really intend to do anything about it.
Has much of this actually been tried here? Or is it just talk?...
Conditions should be laid down. Otherwise it's all talk.
15) PHRASE: PHR n/-ing (emphasis) You can say talk about before mentioning a particular expression or situation, when you mean that something is a very striking or clear example of that expression or situation. [INFORMAL]
Took us quite a while to get here, didn't it? Talk about Fate moving in a mysterious way!...
She threw the cake I'd made on the floor and stood on it. Talk about being humiliated!
16) PHRASE: PHR n/-ing You can use the expression talking of to introduce a new topic that you want to discuss, and to link it to something that has already been mentioned.
I'll give a prize to the best idea. Talking of good ideas, here's one to break the ice at a wedding party...
As it says in the Bible, my cup is running over. Talking of which, I must get you a cup of tea.
17) to talk shop → see shop
- talk around
- talk back
- talk down
- talk down to
- talk into
- talk out
- talk out of
- talk over
- talk round
- talk through
- talk up
2talk noun, pl talks
1 [count] : an occurrence in which one person talks about something with another person : a conversation or discussion - often + about
• After a long talk about our relationship, we decided to get married.
- often + with
• The boss would like to have a talk with you.
- see also pep talk
2 [count] : the act of talking formally about something before a group of people : a speech or lecture - often + on
• He gave a talk on organic farming.
• She is preparing a talk on Christianity in the 21st century.
3 [count] : a formal discussion between two or more groups that are trying to reach an agreement about something - usually plural
• The country refuses to participate in talks on nuclear disarmament.
• a round of trade talks
4 [noncount] : a particular way of speaking
• I will not allow that kind of talk in my house.
• The movie has plenty of action and tough talk.
• street talk [=a way of speaking that is associated with people who live in a poor part of a city]
• straight talk [=speech that is very honest and direct]
- see also shoptalk
a : discussion about what might happen
• There has been some talk of further delays. [=some people have been saying that there will/may be further delays]
• I've been hearing talk that she plans to run for president.
b : the act of talking about a subject with another person or group : discussion or conversation
• When they get together, the talk always turns to [=they always talk about] their years together in high school.
6 [noncount] : the things people say about what they want to do or are going to do
• It's not just talk. I'm serious about moving out.
• If we're ever going to solve these problems, we need less talk and more action.
• The town's last mayor was all talk (and no action). [=the mayor talked about doing things but never actually did them]
• Talk is cheap. [=it is easy to say that you will do something] I need to see results.
talk the talk
- see 1talk
the talk of the town : a person or thing that many people in a town, city, etc., are talking about in an interested or excited way
• Last year at this time no one had ever heard of him, but now he's the talk of the town.
• The new restaurant is the talk of the town.
- see also baby talk, double-talk, pillow talk, small talk