verb spoke spoke (spōk)
, spo·ken (spōˈkən)
, speaks verb, intransitive
- To utter words or articulate sounds with ordinary speech modulation; talk.
a. To convey thoughts, opinions, or emotions orally.
b. To express oneself.
c. To be on speaking terms: They are no longer speaking.
- To deliver an address or lecture: The mayor spoke at the rally.
a. To make a statement in writing: The biography speaks of great loneliness.
b. To act as spokesperson: spoke for the entire staff.
a. To convey a message by nonverbal means: Actions speak louder than words.
b. To be expressive: spoke with her eyes.
c. To be appealing: His poetry speaks to one's heart.
- To make a reservation or request. Often used with for: Is this dance spoken for? I spoke for the last slice of pizza.
a. To produce a characteristic sound: The drums spoke.
b. To give off a sound on firing. Used of guns or cannon.
- To make communicative sounds.
- To give an indication or a suggestion: His manners spoke of good upbringing.
Phrasal Verbs: speak out
- To articulate in a speaking voice: spoke words of wisdom.
- To converse in or be able to converse in (a language): speaks German.
a. To express aloud; tell: speak the truth.
b. To express in writing.
- Nautical To hail and communicate with (another vessel) at sea.
- To convey by nonverbal means: His eyes spoke volumes.
To talk freely and fearlessly, as about a public issue. speak up
To speak loud enough to be audible. To speak without fear or hesitation.
Origin: Middle English speken
Origin: , from Old English sprecan, specan
Related Forms: Word History:
Because English is a Germanic language, first-year German produces many moments of recognition for English speakers and several puzzles. For example, when we learn the verb sprechen, sprach, gesprochen,
“to speak,” and the noun Sprache,
“speech, language,” we wonder whether we lost the r
or the Germans put one in. Sounds are more often lost than added in language change, and this is the case here. In Old English the verb was sprecan,
the noun sprǣc,
both with an r
as in German (and in the other Germanic languages). The r-
less forms began to appear in the south of England and became common in the 11th century; the forms with r
disappeared completely by the middle of the 12th. A similar loss of r
after a consonant and before a vowel occurred in the Middle English noun prang
and its variant pronge,
“severe pain, sharp pain.” Pronge
survives today as prong
(of a pitchfork, for example). The plural of prang
appears in a poem composed about 1400 as pangus,
“sharp stabs of pain,” and survives today as pang,
“sharp, stabbing pain.”