• synonyms


[bih-spohkuh n]
  1. a past participle of bespeak.
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  1. bespoke.
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Origin of bespoken

1600–10 for def 2
Related formsun·be·spo·ken, adjectivewell-be·spo·ken, adjective


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

Related Words for bespoken

imply, attest, exclaim, engage, show, hint, request, stipulate, discuss, speak, accost, foretell, argue, address, ask, announce, reserve, cite, arrange

Examples from the Web for bespoken

Contemporary Examples of bespoken

Historical Examples of bespoken

  • "You cannot have the new carriage you have bespoken," said his lordship.

  • The box was bespoken and the carriage, as soon as they had had their coffee, found to be in attendance.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James

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

    The Golden Dog

    William Kirby

  • The wall stood there before his eyes, exactly as he had bespoken it!

    The Yellow Fairy Book

    Leonora Blanche Alleyne Lang

  • I have bespoken a Miscellany: what would you have me do more?

    The Journal to Stella

    Jonathan Swift

British Dictionary definitions for bespoken


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 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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper