speaking


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Related to speaking: speaking in tongues, public speaking

speak a mile a minute

To speak in a very quick or hurried manner; to talk very fast. When the boss gets excited, she starts speaking a mile a minute, and I can never follow everything she's trying to say!
See also: mile, minute, speak

speak by the card

To speak with accuracy and exactness. The "card" in this now-obsolete phrase might have referred to a sea chart, which was considered very precise. I always trust a man who speaks by the card—it inspires great confidence.
See also: card, speak

speak daggers

To speak harshly or maliciously, so as to hurt the listener. I can't stand to be around my mother these days—she's always speaking daggers because she's so miserable. I will speak daggers to my enemy when I see him at the debate.
See also: dagger, speak

speak in circles

To talk about something in an indirect or confusing way that is hard for the listener to follow. As journalists, we need to ask the important questions and keep these politicians from speaking in circles. A: "What's new with Mary?" B: "I have no idea because she spoke in circles the whole time."
See also: circle, speak

speak well for

1. To show support or vouch for someone. I can speak well for Ted, I've known him for years.
2. To act as proof of something. I think she would make a great model—her grace and poise speak well for her.
See also: speak, well

be (not) on speaking terms

To have an amicable, although perhaps guarded or superficial, relationship with someone. This phrase is often used in the negative to show that two people are estranged. It took a long time, but my ex-husband and I are finally on speaking terms these days. After that argument last night, I'm not on speaking terms with Stephanie. I don't know Kyle that well, but we're on speaking terms, and he seems nice enough.
See also: on, speaking, term

speak out of both sides of (one's) mouth

To try to maintain contradictory positions or beliefs in an attempt to please the most people. We all know that you've been speaking out of both sides of your mouth about the merger, so please, just tell us the truth. Will there be layoffs or not? I don't trust that candidate—he still hasn't committed to a clear course of action and is always speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
See also: both, mouth, of, out, side, speak

speak out of turn

To say something erroneous, foolish, or impudent at an inappropriate time, or to speak when one does not have the authority to do so. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but I think we'd see a higher profit margin if we took better care of our employees' benefits. If you speak out of turn in my class, you can expect detention!
See also: of, out, speak, turn

on speaking terms (with someone)

on friendly terms with someone. (Often with the negative.) I'm not on speaking terms with Mary. We had a serious disagreement. We're not on speaking terms.
See also: on, speaking, term

speak out of turn

Fig. to say something unwise or imprudent; to say something at the wrong time. Excuse me if I'm speaking out of turn, but what you are proposing is quite wrong. Bob was quite honest, even if he was speaking out of turn.
See also: of, out, speak, turn

speaking for oneself

an expression indicating that one is expressing only one's own opinion. Speaking for myself, I am ready to cancel the contract. Sally is speaking for herself. She is not expressing our opinions.
See also: speaking

speaking (quite) candidly

an expression introducing a frank or forthright statement. "speaking quite candidly, I find your behavior a bit offensive," stated Frank, obviously offended. Mary: Tell me what you really think about this skirt. Sally: speaking candidly, I think you should get your money back.
See also: speaking

(speaking) (quite) frankly

 and frankly speaking
a transitional phrase announcing that the speaker is going to talk in a more familiar and totally forthright manner. Tom: Speaking quite frankly, I'm not certain she's the one for the job. Mary: l agree. Bob: We ought to be looking at housing in a lower price bracket. Bill: Quite frankly, lagree. "Frankly speaking," said John, "I think you're out of your mind!"

in a manner of speaking

this is one way to say it so to speak “We should go south.” “So that means I should turn left?” “In a manner of speaking, yes.” She was, in a manner of speaking, not at her best – in fact, she was exhausted and had the flu.
Usage notes: sometimes used to suggest that something unpleasant is being described in a more pleasant way
Related vocabulary: if you will
See also: manner, of, speaking

speaking as somebody

with the experience of this type of person What would you like to see happen, speaking as a someone who has lived in the area for a long time?
See also: speaking

speaking of something

(spoken)
related to the subject being discussed Casey is at a birthday party – speaking of birthdays, Abe's is Friday.
Usage notes: used to introduce a slightly different subject
See also: of, speaking

strictly speaking

if I want to be completely accurate in what I am saying They're still married, strictly speaking, but they've been living apart for years.
See also: speaking, strictly

on speaking terms

friendly enough to talk We have heard from various people that the coach is barely on speaking terms with his best pitcher.
Usage notes: often used in the form not on speaking terms: The two nations have not been on speaking terms for a couple of decades.
See also: on, speaking, term

speak out of turn

also talk out of turn
to say something that you should not have said I'm sorry if I spoke out of turn, but somebody had to tell him the facts.
Usage notes: sometimes used to describe something you did not have the authority to say: The company president said there had not been any delays, and that the project manager had spoken out of turn.
See also: of, out, speak, turn

be speaking/talking out of both sides of your mouth

  (American)
to say different things about the same subject when you are with different people in order to always please the people you are with How can we trust any politicians when we know they're speaking out of both sides of their mouths?
See also: both, mouth, of, out, side, speaking

not be on speaking terms

to be refusing to talk to someone because you have had an argument and are still angry with them (often + with ) She's not on speaking terms with her ex-husband. Jeanette and her mother haven't been on speaking terms since the wedding.
See be speaking out of both sides of mouth
See also: on, speaking, term

speak/talk out of turn

  (slightly formal)
to say something that you should not have said or that you did not have the authority to say I'm sorry if I spoke out of turn, but somebody had to tell him the facts.
See also: of, out, speak, turn

in a manner of speaking

In a way; so to speak. For example, He was, in a manner of speaking, asked to leave the group. [Late 1800s]
See also: manner, of, speaking

on speaking terms

1. Friendly enough to exchange superficial remarks, as in We're on speaking terms with the new neighbors.
2. Ready and willing to communicate, not alienated or estranged. For example, We are on speaking terms again after the quarrel. Both senses of this idiom commonly occur in the negative, as in Brett and his brother haven't been on speaking terms for years. The idiom was first recorded in 1786.
See also: on, speaking, term

in a manner of speaking

In a way; so to speak.
See also: manner, of, speaking

on speaking terms

1. Friendly enough to exchange superficial remarks: We're on speaking terms with the new neighbors.
2. Ready and willing to communicate; not alienated or estranged.
See also: on, speaking, term
References in periodicals archive ?
Almost three-fourths (73 percent) of the foreign-born age 25 and over with a bachelor's degree or higher had high English-speaking ability, speaking only English at home or speaking another language at home and speaking English "very well.
The mother's insistence on speaking the HL at home can be contributive of the HL children's adherence to both languages (Kondo, 1998).
And a couple of times, when I wanted to insert the words Naturally Speaking, the software opened the Naturally Speaking menu instead.
Most of the countries in the English speaking Caribbean received their independence in the 1960s.
Instead of representing a "[T]ruth," a "unity" or a "belongingness," a critical use of the self may come to emphasize the "historical conditions" involved in its speaking.
For many people, one of their most common fears is speaking in front of an audience.
First is the ability to form habits through repetition, without which we could not come to automatically associate words with meanings, nor learn complicated physical activities like speaking or playing a musical instrument.
According to recent surveys, many people in America rank speaking in public as one of the greatest fears of their lives.
Intelligent -- often brilliant -- individuals who are able to communicate effectively one-on-one, but fall flat when speaking to groups.
TAKE A COURSE Ideally, sign up for a course in the country that speaks the language that you want to study, For example, sharpen your Spanish speaking skills by taking a course in Spain--even if you're only staying for a week.
But paintings are not mute poems, and poems are not speaking pictures, so misinterpretations of Horace have continually clouded our endless accounts of the relations between poetry and painting.
Others prefer to take more time memorizing, or more time speaking.
I eventually stopped speaking Spanish altogether although my parents and family friends frequently spoke Spanish to me in social settings.
Tom is a speaking subaltern figure whose voice reveals a relatively positive and complex subjectivity, but his death and silencing, which leave the post-war, post-freedom stage to his bourgeois "betters," seems to signal the obsolescence of his type or class.
Unfortunately, this important competence may be belittled by the doctor-candidate, or, worse yet, the prospective manager commits grammatical errors in writing, makes inappropriate use of metaphors in speaking, fails to send thank you notes and acknowledgments, or has unsightly typographical errors in his or her presentation materials.