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90s Slang You Should Know


[bih-speek] /bɪˈspik/
verb (used with object), bespoke or (Archaic) bespake; bespoken or bespoke; bespeaking.
to ask for in advance:
to bespeak the reader's patience.
to reserve beforehand; engage in advance; make arrangements for:
to bespeak a seat in a theater.
Literary. to speak to; address.
to show; indicate:
This bespeaks a kindly heart.
Obsolete. to foretell; forebode.
Origin of bespeak
before 900; Middle English bespeken, Old English besprecan. See be-, speak Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bespeak
Historical Examples
  • Permit me most earnestly to bespeak this confidence, as we pursue our investigations in respect to the Will.

  • I hate to tell you, but as I wish to bespeak your kind offices, I must do so.

  • It is one which would follow that of your public life and bespeak it the work of the same great hand.

    Life And Times Of Washington, Volume 2 John Frederick Schroeder
  • The reply of Ossaroo did not bespeak any very sanguine hope on his part.

    The Cliff Climbers Captain Mayne Reid
  • Please to bespeak something else; I have everything in the house.

    The Beaux-Stratagem George Farquhar
  • The colour of his skin, with the moustache, bespeak him a white man, and not an Indian.

    The Lone Ranche Captain Mayne Reid
  • In surrendering myself and those under my command, I bespeak for the others an immunity from all vexatious detention.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson John Pendleton Kennedy
  • Was there one, even one, whose counsel he could ask, or whose assistance he could bespeak?

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • The Colonel is a fine man for County Judge, and we bespeak for him the suffrages of every voter who wants an honest judiciary.

    The Boss of Little Arcady Harry Leon Wilson
  • They bespeak more than concerns the interests of our country.

British Dictionary definitions for bespeak


verb (transitive) -speaks, -speaking, -spoke, -spoken, -spoke
to engage, request, or ask for in advance
to indicate or suggest: this act bespeaks kindness
(poetic) to speak to; address
(archaic) to foretell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bespeak

Old English besprecan "speak about, speak against, complain," from be- + sprecan "to speak" (see speak). A common Germanic compound (cf. Old Saxon bisprecan, Dutch bespreken, Old High German bisprehhan, German besprechen); originally "to call out," it evolved a wide range of meaning in English, including "speak up," "oppose," "request," "discuss, "arrange," and "to order (goods)" (1580s).

The connection of the senses is very loose; some of them appear to have arisen quite independently of each other from different applications of BE- pref. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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