[bih-spohkuh n]


a past participle of bespeak.


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.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bespoken

Contemporary Examples of bespoken

  • “When you're a smaller brand, you have to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Liam Fayed of menswear label Bespoken.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Future of Fashion Week

    Renata Espinosa

    September 19, 2009

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)

to engage, request, or ask for in advance
to indicate or suggestthis 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

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