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bespeak

[bih-speek]
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verb (used with object), be·spoke or (Archaic) be·spake; be·spo·ken or be·spoke; be·speak·ing.
  1. to ask for in advance: to bespeak the reader's patience.
  2. to reserve beforehand; engage in advance; make arrangements for: to bespeak a seat in a theater.
  3. Literary. to speak to; address.
  4. to show; indicate: This bespeaks a kindly heart.
  5. Obsolete. to foretell; forebode.
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Origin of bespeak

before 900; Middle English bespeken, Old English besprecan. See be-, speak
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bespeak

Historical Examples

  • As he said this, he held up his hand to bespeak Martin's attention.

    Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit

    Charles Dickens

  • Was there one, even one, whose counsel he could ask, or whose assistance he could bespeak?

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

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

  • The reply of Ossaroo did not bespeak any very sanguine hope on his part.

    The Cliff Climbers

    Captain Mayne Reid

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

    The Lone Ranche

    Captain Mayne Reid


British Dictionary definitions for bespeak

bespeak

verb -speaks, -speaking, -spoke, -spoken or -spoke (tr)
  1. to engage, request, or ask for in advance
  2. to indicate or suggestthis act bespeaks kindness
  3. poetic to speak to; address
  4. archaic to foretell
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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

Word Origin and History for bespeak

v.

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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper