transitive verb-·spoke′, -·spo′ken or -·spoke′, -·speak′ing
- to speak for in advance; engage beforehand; reserve: that room is bespoken
- to be indicative of; show: a mansion that bespeaks wealth
- to foreshadow; point to: her talent bespeaks success
- Archaic to speak to; address
Origin of bespeakMiddle English bispeken from Old English besprecan: see be- and speak
transitive verbbe·spoke, be·spo·ken, or be·spoke be·speak·ing, be·speaks
- a. To be or give a sign of; indicate: “Their impeccable coiffures bespoke a recent trip to the beauty parlor” ( Daniel B. Silver ) See Synonyms at indicate.b. To foretell; portend: “He salutes them with a stricken look, as if their arrival bespeaks doom for him” ( Edna O'Brien )
- a. To engage, hire, or order in advance: “Some of the volumes that she had just bespoken the bookseller was to send to foreign countries” ( Henry James ) See Synonyms at book 1.b. To request: bespeak a favor.
- Archaic To speak to; address.
Origin of bespeakMiddle English bispeken to speak out from Old English besprecan to speak about
(third-person singular simple present bespeaks, present participle bespeaking, simple past bespoke or bespake (archaic), past participle bespoken or bespoke (archaic))
- To speak about; tell of; relate; discuss.
- To speak for beforehand; engage in advance; make arrangements for; order or reserve in advance.
- to bespeak a seat in a theatre
- To stipulate, solicit, ask for, or request, as in a favour.
- to bespeak a calm hearing
- I bespeak your patience in advance.
- (archaic) To forbode; foretell.
- (archaic, poetic) To speak to; address.
- To betoken; show; indicate; foretell; suggest.
- This act bespeaks his kindness.
- (intransitive) To speak up or out; exclaim; speak.
From Middle English bespeken, bispeken, from Old English *bespecan, besprecan (“to speak about, speak against, accuse of, claim at law, complain”), from Proto-Germanic *bisprekaną (“to discuss, blame”), equivalent to be- + speak. Cognate with Scots bespeke (“to beseech, speak or negotiate with”), West Frisian besprekke (“to discuss”), Dutch bespreken (“to discuss, review, debate”), German besprechen (“to discuss, review, talk about”).