- in a relationship close enough for or limited to friendly superficialities: I don't know the hosts well, but we are certainly on speaking terms.
- in a relationship of open, willing, or ready communication: Now that the debt has been settled, I hope you and your partner are on speaking terms again.
Origin of speaking
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.
- to intercede for or recommend; speak in behalf of.
- to express or articulate the views of; represent.
- to choose or prefer; have reserved for oneself: This item is already spoken for.
Origin of speak
Synonyms for speak
Examples from the Web for speaking
Contemporary Examples of speaking
Speaking to a local radio station today Antonella Ramelli said the video gives her hope.Jihadis Release New Year’s Eve Video of Italian Female Hostages
Jamie Dettmer, Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 2, 2015
“Mona Iraqi is responsible for 25 families losing their lives,” he said, speaking figuratively.Sisi Is Persecuting, Prosecuting, and Publicly Shaming Egypt’s Gays
December 30, 2014
Speaking of the literature you love, the Bloomsbury writers crop up in your collection repeatedly.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination
December 26, 2014
Sometimes democracy and liberalism are about speaking up about the great issues, like a massive foreign war.A Few Great Men Too Many: Aaron Sorkin Doesn’t Think You Can Handle the Truth
December 21, 2014
Both the Republicans in Congress and the American-Cuban community in exile have been speaking out against the warming relations.Up To Speed: The Cuba Embargo
December 18, 2014
Historical Examples of speaking
Some of these bright beings are speaking, and others are silent.
I have more than once tried to deceive you, but you will feel that I am not now speaking falsely.
She heard him speaking in a voice not louder than a whisper, rapid, distinct.Way of the Lawless
I have used the words "they" and "their" in speaking of these heroes.
"Yes," said Dick, staring in front of him and speaking in a dull, even voice.Viviette
William J. Locke
- able to speak
- (in combination)able to speak a particular languageFrench-speaking
verb speaks, speaking, spoke or spoken
Word Origin for speak
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").
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
- 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