spoke


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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

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

put a spoke in (one's) wheel

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to one's plan, activity, or project. I had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on me at the last minute really put a spoke in my wheel. It will really put a spoke in our wheel if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project. You would think the rise of cheap electric cars would put a spoke in Big Oil's wheel, but they actually seem to be embracing the change.
See also: put, spoke, wheel

speak for itself/themselves

To have a clear meaning or explanation. I think my work these past few months speaks for itself and makes me more than qualified for this position.
See also: itself, speak, themselves

speak too soon

To say something that is soon negated or contradicted. This phrase is usually used in the past tense, as the negating factor has already happened. A: "Who's screaming at each other upstairs?" B: "Well, I thought we'd get through a normal family dinner, but I guess I spoke too soon!" A: "I think we'll soon be in the clear." B: "Don't speak too soon—we're not out of this yet."
See also: soon, speak

speak with a forked tongue

To make empty or false promises; to speak duplicitously or beguilingly. Likened to having the tongue of a serpent, a traditional symbol of deceit and dishonesty. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the senator spoke with a forked tongue during his campaign. He learned quickly that speaking with a forked tongue was an effective way of getting ahead in business.
See also: forked, speak, tongue

speak for (one)

1. To say something on behalf of someone; to express someone's opinions for them. I can't speak for Dave, but I know that I'm very uncomfortable with this arrangement. I would just like to make clear that this former employee does not speak for me or the company as a whole.
2. To testify, argue, or give a recommendation for someone. Melissa's a fantastic worker; I can't speak for the other interns, though, as I haven't spent any time working with them. I don't need anyone to speak for me—I can stand up for myself.
See also: speak

speak out

To voice one's opinion loudly, aggressively, or publicly. If I had only spoken out when I suspected something was wrong, none of this would have happened. Many senators on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against the president's proposed tax cuts.
See also: out, speak

speak the same language

To share or understand one another's opinions, values, beliefs, tastes, etc. A: "I say we stop here and order a couple bottles of wine." B: "You and I are speaking the same language." Bill and my dad are getting along very well together. They're both obsessed with hockey, so they speak the same language.
See also: language, same, speak

speak up

1. To speak louder. What's that you're saying? Speak up!
2. To voice one's opinion loudly, aggressively, or publicly. If I had only spoken up when I suspected something was wrong, none of this would have happened. Many senators on both sides of the aisle are speaking up against the president's proposed tax cuts.
See also: speak, up

speak up for (one)

To testify, argue, or give defense on behalf of someone. Thank you for speaking up for me back there. I think the boss was ready to fire me! Our organization's goal is to speak up for the disenfranchised groups of the country.
See also: speak, up

speak volumes

To reveal or indicate a great deal about someone or something. John never talks about how much money he earns, but the car he drives speaks volumes. How you react speaks volumes about your character.
See also: speak

speak down to (one)

To speak in an insultingly condescending manner to someone; to speak to someone as if they are less mature, intelligent, or capable than they really are. I try not to speak down to my kids when they ask me a serious question. I hate the way my boss speaks down to me whenever I ask him to explain something.
See also: down, speak

speak sense

To adopt a very reasonable, logical, and coherent standpoint; to speak clearly and rationally. You're not speaking sense, Bill—how on earth would a plan like that be feasible? I'm glad someone is finally speaking some sense in this meeting!
See also: sense, speak

speak as (one) finds

To speak candidly as one sees or experiences or sees, even if it comes across as rude or tactless. The candidate built his brand off of speaking as he finds, which seems to strike a chord with the working class voters in his constituency.
See also: find, speak

speak highly of (someone or something)

To enthusiastically endorse someone or something; to extol the virtues, benefits, or good qualities of someone or something. Our manager has spoken highly of these new developers. I hope they're up to the job! My dad has been speaking highly of this smartphone, so I think I might buy one for myself.
See also: highly, of, speak

I spoke out of turn.

Fig. I said the wrong thing.; I should not have said what I did. (An apology.) Bill: You said I was the one who did it. Mary: I'm sorry. I spoke out of turn. I was mistaken. Bill: I seem to have said the wrong thing. Bob: You certainly did. Bill: I spoke out of turn, and I'm sorry.
See also: of, out, spoke, turn

I spoke too soon.

 
1. Fig. I am wrong.; I spoke before I knew the facts. Bill: I know I said I would, but I spoke too soon. Sue: I thought so. John: You said that everything would be all right. Jane: I spoke too soon. That was before I learned that you had been arrested.
2. Fig. What I had said was just now contradicted. Bob: It's beginning to brighten up. I guess it won't rain after all. John: I'm glad to hear that. Bob: Whoops! I spoke too soon. I just felt a raindrop on my cheek. Bill: Thank heavens! Here's John now. Bob: No, that's Fred. Bill: I spoke too soon. He sure looked like John.
See also: soon, spoke

speak out

to speak loudly; to speak to be heard. (See also speak out (about someone or something).) Please speak out. We need to hear you. They won't hear you in the back row if you don't speak out.
See also: out, speak

speak out (on something)

to say something frankly and directly; to speak one's mind. This law is wrong, and I intend to speak out on it until it is repealed. You must speak out. People need to know what you think.
See also: out, speak

speak out

(against someone or something) to speak negatively and publicly about someone or something; to reveal something negative, in speech, about someone or something. I don't want to speak out against my friends, but I am afraid I have to. The citizens spoke out against corruption in government.
See also: out, speak

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

speak out (on something)

to say something frankly and directly; to speak one's mind. This law is wrong, and I intend to speak out on it until it is repealed. You must speak out. People need to know what you think.
See also: out, speak

speak the same language

 
1. Lit. [for two or more people] to communicate in a shared language. These two people don't speak the same language and need an interpreter.
2. Fig. [for people] to have similar ideas, tastes, etc. Jane and Jack get along very well. They really speak the same language about almost everything. Bob and his father didn't speak the same language when it comes to politics.
See also: language, same, speak

speak up

 
1. Lit. to speak more loudly. They can't hear you in the back of the room. Please speak up. What? speak up, please. I'm hard of hearing.
2. Fig. to speak out something). If you think that this is wrong, you must speak up and say so. I'm too shy to speak up.
See also: speak, up

speak up (against someone or something)

to end one's silence and speak negatively and publicly about someone or something. She finally spoke up against her cruel boss. We all felt like we had to speak up and denounce this tyrant.
See also: speak, up

speak volumes

Fig. [for something that is seen] to reveal a great deal of information. The unsightly yard and unpainted house speaks volumes about what kind of people live there.
See also: speak

speak with a forked tongue

Fig. to tell lies; to try to deceive someone. Jean's mother sounds very charming, but she speaks with a forked tongue. People tend to believe Fred because he seems plausible, but we know he speaks with a forked tongue.
See also: forked, speak, tongue

speak the same language

Understand one another very well, agree with each other, as in Negotiations went on for days, but finally both sides realized they weren't speaking the same language . This term, alluding to literal understanding of spoken words, dates from the late 1800s.
See also: language, same, speak

speak too soon

Assume something prematurely, as in I guess I spoke too soon about moving to Boston; I didn't get the job after all.
See also: soon, speak

speak up

1. Also, speak out. Talk loudly, so as to be heard, as in Speak up, child, I can't hear you, or He should speak out so that those in back can hear him. The first term dates from the early 1700s, the variant from the early 1500s.
2. Also, speak up for. Express one's opinion or one's support for someone or something. For example, When it comes to speaking up about the town's needs, you can rely on Mary, or I'm glad you spoke up for me in that meeting. [c. 1700]
See also: speak, up

speak volumes

Be significant, indicate a great deal, as in That house of theirs speaks volumes about their income. This idiom uses volumes in the sense of "the information contained in volumes of books." [c. 1800]
See also: speak

speak the same language

If people speak the same language, they have the same views about things or want to achieve the same things. Like Castle, Wilson had been brought up in a similar way, and they spoke the same language. We have to make sure that the seller and the customer are both speaking the same language.
See also: language, same, speak

put a spoke in someone's wheel

mainly BRITISH
If you put a spoke in someone's wheel, you deliberately do something which spoils their plans. She was just jealous of your relationship with Pippa and couldn't resist putting a spoke in your wheel. Note: Cartwheels used to be made of solid wood, with holes in them through which a wooden bar or `spoke' could be pushed in order to make the cart slow down or stop.
See also: put, spoke, wheel

speak volumes

COMMON If something speaks volumes, it gives you a lot of information about the true facts of a situation. What you wear speaks volumes about you. Her background, while speaking volumes about her business skills, could not convince the arts world that she was part of it. Note: In this expression, a `volume' is a book.
See also: speak

speak the same language

understand one another as a result of shared opinions and values.
1990 New Age Journal I translate between Greenpeace-speak and record industry-speak, because the two groups just don't speak the same language.
See also: language, same, speak

speak volumes

1 (of a gesture, circumstance, or object) convey a great deal. 2 be good evidence for.
2 1998 New Scientist It was a minor scandal… but it spoke volumes about the world's shifting relationship with its favourite illicit drug.
See also: speak

put a spoke in someone's wheel

prevent someone from carrying out a plan. British
It is not clear why a spoke , a normal component of many wheels, should have such a negative effect. It has been suggested that spoke here is a mistranslation of the Dutch word spaak , meaning ‘a bar’ or ‘a stave’, which is found in the identical Dutch idiom.
See also: put, spoke, wheel

speak (or talk) out of turn

speak in a tactless or foolish way.
See also: of, out, speak, turn

speak for itˈself/themˈselves

be so clear or obvious that no explanation or comment is needed: The expressions on their faces spoke for themselves — they hated the song.
See also: itself, speak, themselves

speak too ˈsoon

say something, and find afterwards that what you said is not true: ‘I’m glad Simon didn’t come.’ ‘You spoke too soon. Here he comes now.’
See also: soon, speak

speak ˈvolumes (about/for somebody/something)

show or express a lot about the nature or quality of somebody/something: Her face spoke volumes. You could see how much she had suffered.The progress he’s made since the operation speaks volumes for his courage.
See also: speak

put a ˈspoke in somebody’s wheel

(British English) make it difficult for somebody to do something or to carry out their plans: If the management try to cut our pay, we can put a spoke in their wheel by going on strike. Spoke may be an incorrect translation from Dutch of spaak meaning ‘bar’ or ‘stick’.
See also: put, spoke, wheel

speak out

v.
To talk freely and fearlessly, as about a public issue: Only one newspaper spoke out against the dictator. The politician was not afraid to speak out on controversial issues. Everyone was concerned about the problem, but no one spoke out.
See also: out, speak

speak up

v.
1. To speak loud enough to be audible: Speak up—I can't hear you.
2. To speak without fear or hesitation: You have to speak up if you want something.
See also: speak, up

spokes

n. lists of jokes, sent from friends via email; joke spam. I don’t know what’s worse, spokes or spam.
See also: spoke
References in periodicals archive ?
He reported to his parents that he spoke both in Japanese and English to become a 'bridge' between his American classmates and the Japanese guests.
By 1980, the two outsiders spoke the native tongue well enough to field an intriguing proposal from villagers: to teach them to count and to read.
Most of his customers spoke little or no English, and he wanted to be one of the few Spanish-speaking employees who could help customers find just the right fish or direct them to canned vegetables.
The nation had been at war for a year when the Socialist leader Eugene Debs spoke in Canton, Ohio, outside a prison where three Sodalists were serving time for opposing the draft.
It was not until he spoke the magic phrase "customer service representative" that the system responded, "I will connect you with a customer service representative.
This theoretical research shows that an establishment of hub and spoke integration tend to lead to convergence of the hub country and spoke countries with higher income in their real incomes, while it will cause divergence from spoke countries with lower income.
Our group included 17 people from 14 countries on five continents, and all spoke at least two languages--except the three Americans.
She spoke of the history of her family business and the many challenges they have faced since 1973.
The choice of languages to be taught was not related to proximity to, or relationship with, the countries who spoke foreign language.
Charbonneau also had a partner--a mulatto who spoke both English and French.
I spoke English with my mother, French with my father, and Italian with my nanny," she recalls.
Responding to this need, the facility surveyed its 300-person staff and found that several staff members spoke a second language in addition to English.
You know, there aren't many people who speak Creole here, but I helped one customer who spoke the language, and they were instantly comfortable,'' said Sesay, whose accent warms every syllable.
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