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I am looking for an adjective/noun for someone who is able to speak/ makes speeches very well and uses words effectively to influence/impress people.

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  • FWIW, Speak, not speech. Speak is a verb, speech is a noun. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:09
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    What is wrong with influential speaker?
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:41
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    A semi-related term would be charismatic: exercising a compelling charm that inspires devotion in others. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 16:27

7 Answers 7

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I believe the word you're looking for is "persuasive". This is an adjective. Someone who is able to speak (not speech, "speech" is the noun) very well and uses words effectively to influence people could be said to be persuasive.

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    Is it synonym with articulate?
    – B Faley
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:19
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    Articulate means that the person uses a wide vocabulary and phrases their sentences well to provide very clear and understandable meaning. Persuasive comes from "persuade", which means to convince someone using words or other means. When used as an adjective, it is most commonly used in the sense of being persuasive with language.
    – Ledda
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 12:24
  • You should also be careful with "articulate," which can cause offense in the U.S. when used to describe African-Americans. This comes from a practice of describing black people in the U.S. approvingly with adjectives like "clean and articulate," with an implication that this was surprising in a person of color. American racial politics can be a linguistic minefield...
    – chapka
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 13:09
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A colloquial adjective: silver-tongued. "That silver-tongued con man convinced the entire city that they needed a monorail."

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    You imply with your example, but I think it's worth stating explicitly: in modern usage, silver-tounged often has a negative connotation, despite originally being derived from "the tongue of the righteous" in Proverbs 10:20
    – Patrick M
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 22:41
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An eloquent speaker, orator, rhetorician ...

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Articulate

...describes perfectly the first part of your request but falls slightly short of 'influence' part.

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So, to state your goal another way "a public speaker who communicates well and influences hearers".

Additionally, from followup comments, you desire not to imply persuasive toward the sense of having guile - a persuasion with trickery. (Perhaps the worst example of an articulate, influential speaker with guile being a propagandist.)

How about 'winsome orator'? (I don't think winsome alone will do. )

Some may oppose winsome on grounds of its popular definition of... "Charming, often in a childlike or naive way." But childlike fits especially, because it implies innocence and lack of guile.

Furthermore, Among the synonyms for winsome are fair, engaging, amiable. Perhaps I am just picking the synonyms I like.

The American Heritage Dictionary defn. of winsome notes...

"...the Indo-European root *wen-, meaning "to desire, strive for..."
...
"... the verb win itself is from this root; its meaning is an extension of the sense
"to strive for," namely, "to strive for with success, be victorious." ..."

So a winsome orator describes one who energetically and convincingly communicates.

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To some extent, demagogue might also apply.

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  • or "sophist", if you want to go in that direction.
    – Publius
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 0:05
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What about orator? It seems to me that persuasion is the essence of oratory.

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