speak for (oneself)(redirected from speak for themselves)
speak for (oneself)
1. To express one's opinion as one's own, and not represent it as being indicative of anyone else's. Used as an imperative when there is disagreement. A: "We just love traveling." B: "Speak for yourself—I think it's exhausting."
2. To express one's own opinion or point of view, especially in contrast to those of others. She needs to speak for herself—I'm not a mind-reader! Speaking for myself, I haven't noticed any of the problems that David is bringing up.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
speak for someone or something
1. to testify or argue for someone or something. I would be happy to speak for you in court. Just tell me when. My attorney will speak for our position.
2. to lay claim to someone or something. Fred is spoken for. I want to speak for the red one.
oneself to speak on one's own behalf. I can speak for myself. I don't need you to speak for me. speak for yourself. What you say does not represent my thinking.
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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Intercede for, recommend, as in He spoke for the young applicant, commending her honesty. [c. 1300]
2. Express the views of, as in I can't speak for my husband but I'd love to accept, or I don't care what Harry thinks-Speak for yourself, Joe. [c. 1300]
3. speak for itself. Be significant or self-evident, as in They haven't called us in months, and that speaks for itself. [Second half of 1700s]
4. spoken for. Ordered, engaged, or reserved, as in This lot of rugs is already spoken for, or Is this dance spoken for? This usage comes from the older verb, bespeak, meaning "to order." [Late 1600s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
speak for yourselfINFORMAL
If you say Speak for yourself when someone has said something, you mean that you do not agree with them, or that what they have said only applies to them. `We're not blaming you,' Kate said. `Speak for yourself,' Boris muttered. `We love you, too,' Cooper said. `Hey, speak for yourself,' Sasha told her.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
speak for yourselfgive your own opinions.
The exclamation speak for yourself! indicates to someone that an opinion they have expressed is not shared by yourself and is resented.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
speak for myˈself, himˈself, etc.express what you think or want yourself, rather than somebody else doing it for you: I’m quite capable of speaking for myself, thank you!
speak for yourˈself(spoken, informal) used to tell somebody that a general statement they have just made is not true of you: ‘We didn’t play very well.’ ‘Speak for yourself!’ (= I think that I played well).
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. To act as spokesperson for someone or something: I speak for the entire staff when I say thank you. I think these photographs will speak for themselves. Hey, speak for yourself—I'm not too old to dance! I can't speak for my competitors, but we take every precaution to ensure the customer's safety.
2. To make a reservation or request for someone or something. Chiefly used in the passive: Is this dance spoken for? That painting is already spoken for.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
speak for yourself
Take your own part, not someone else’s; also, that’s your opinion, not necessarily mine. In the first meaning, this term dates from the nineteenth century and was popularized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “The Courtship of Miles Standish” (1858), recounting the wooing of Priscilla Carpenter by John Alden for Captain Standish. Priscilla “said, in a tremulous voice,‘Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?’”With or without John, the term has been so used ever since. Also, since at least the early eighteenth century, the expression has signified implicit disagreement. Jonathan Swift used it in Polite Conversation (1738): “Pray, sir, speak for yourself.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer