speak

[speek]

verb (used without object), spoke or (Archaic) spake; spo·ken or (Archaic) spoke; speak·ing.

verb (used with object), spoke or (Archaic) spake; spo·ken or (Archaic) spoke; speak·ing.

Verb Phrases

speak for,
  1. to intercede for or recommend; speak in behalf of.
  2. to express or articulate the views of; represent.
  3. to choose or prefer; have reserved for oneself: This item is already spoken for.
speak out, to express one's opinion openly and unreservedly: He was not afraid to speak out when it was something he believed in strongly.

Idioms

    so to speak, to use a manner of speaking; figuratively speaking: We still don't have our heads above water, so to speak.
    speak by the book, to say with great authority or precision: I can't speak by the book, but I know this is wrong.
    speak well for, to be an indication or reflection of (something commendable); testify admirably to: Her manners speak well for her upbringing.
    to speak of, worth mentioning: The country has no mineral resources to speak of.

Origin of speak

before 900; Middle English speken, Old English specan, variant of sprecan; cognate with German sprechen (Old High German sprehhan; compare variant spehhan)
Related formsspeak·a·ble, adjectivespeak·a·ble·ness, nounspeak·a·bly, adverb

Synonyms for speak

1. Speak, converse, talk mean to make vocal sounds, usually for purposes of communication. To speak often implies conveying information and may apply to anything from an informal remark to a scholarly presentation to a formal address: to speak sharply; to speak before Congress. To converse is to exchange ideas with someone by speaking: to converse with a friend. To talk is a close synonym for to speak but usually refers to less formal situations: to talk about the weather; to talk with a friend. 12. pronounce, articulate. 13. say. 15. disclose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for so to speak

speak

verb speaks, speaking, spoke or spoken

to make (verbal utterances); utter (words)
to communicate or express (something) in or as if in wordsI speak the truth
(intr) to deliver a speech, discourse, etc
(tr) to know how to talk in (a language or dialect)he does not speak German
(intr) to make a characteristic soundthe clock spoke
(intr) (of dogs, esp hounds used in hunting) to give tongue; bark
(tr) nautical to hail and converse or communicate with (another vessel) at sea
(intr) (of a musical instrument) to produce a sound
(intr foll by for) to be a representative or advocate (of)he speaks for all the members
on speaking terms on good terms; friendly
so to speak in a manner of speaking; as it were
speak one's mind to express one's opinions frankly and plainly
to speak of of a significant or worthwhile naturewe have had no support to speak of
Derived Formsspeakable, adjective

Word Origin for speak

Old English specan; related to Old High German spehhan, Middle High German spechten to gossip, Middle Dutch speken; see speech
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 so to speak

speak

v.

Old English specan, variant of sprecan "to speak" (class V strong verb; past tense spræc, past participle sprecen), from Proto-Germanic *sprekanan (cf. Old Saxon sprecan, Old Frisian spreka, Middle Dutch spreken, Old High German sprehhan, German sprechen "to speak," Old Norse spraki "rumor, report"), cognate with Latin spargere "to strew" (speech as a "scattering" of words; see sparse).

The -r- began to drop out in Late West Saxon and was gone by mid-12c., perhaps from influence of Danish spage "crackle," in a slang sense of "speak" (cf. crack in slang senses having to do with speech, e.g. wisecrack, cracker, all it's cracked up to be). Rare variant forms without -r- also are found in Middle Dutch (speken) and Old High German (spehhan).

Not the primary word for "to speak" in Old English (the "Beowulf" author prefers maþelian, from mæþel "assembly, council," from root of metan "to meet;" cf. Greek agoreuo "to speak," originally "speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with so to speak

so to speak

Phrased like this, in a manner of speaking, as in He was, so to speak, the head of the family, although he was only related by marriage to most of the family members. This term originally meant “in the vernacular” or “lower-class language” and was used as an aristocrat's apology for stooping to such use. [Early 1800s] Also see as it were.

speak

In addition to the idioms beginning with speak

  • speak down to
  • speak for
  • speak of the devil
  • speak one's mind
  • speak one's piece
  • speak out
  • speak out of turn
  • speak the same language
  • speak too soon
  • speak up
  • speak volumes

also see:

  • actions speak louder than words
  • in a manner of speaking
  • nothing to speak of
  • not to mention (speak of)
  • on speaking terms
  • so to speak
  • to speak of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.