[spohks-muh n]
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Origin of spokesman

1510–20; spoke1 (irregular as noun) + 's1 + -man

Usage note

See -man.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for spokesman


spokesperson (ˈspəʊksˌpɜːsən) or feminine spokeswoman (ˈspəʊksˌwʊmən)

noun plural -men, -persons, -people or -women
  1. a person authorized to speak on behalf of another person, group of people, or organization
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 spokesman

1510s, "an interpreter," 1530s in the sense of "person who speaks for another or others." Irregular formation from spoke, past tense of speak (actually a back-formation from spoken). Spokeswoman is from 1650s; spokesperson is from 1972. Spokesmodel is attested from 1990.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper