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90s Slang You Should Know


[bih-spohkuh n] /bɪ spoʊkən/
a past participle of bespeak.
Origin of bespoken
1600-10 for def 2
Related forms
unbespoken, adjective
well-bespoken, adjective


[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.
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 bespoken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A few days afterward, Mr. Vincent went to Gray, the jeweller, for some trinkets which he had bespoken.

  • Bartemy and I have bespoken an eel pie and a gallon of humming cider of Normandy.

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • "It is all bespoken, every thing that you bring," she said to the Scotchman.

    The Old Market-Cart Mrs. F. B. Smith
  • I have bespoken a Miscellany: what would you have me do more?

    The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift
  • Cecilia looked startled; she was well aware that Helen did not know the high price of what she had bespoken.

    Helen Maria Edgeworth
  • Mr. Wilton's conversation, you see, is all bespoken already.

    The Making of a Prig Evelyn Sharp
  • Every team in Rosewater was bespoken for the distinguished occasion, and the reports of the weather bureau were consulted daily.

    Ancestors Gertrude Atherton
  • If my heart were not bespoken, I'm sure I should give it to her.

  • The strangers' room at all the clubs has been bespoken this night for weeks.

British Dictionary definitions for bespoken


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 bespoken



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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