Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To be or give a sign of; indicate: synonym: indicate.
  • transitive verb To foretell; portend.
  • transitive verb To engage, hire, or order in advance: synonym: book.
  • transitive verb To request: bespeak a favor.
  • transitive verb Archaic To speak to; address.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To speak for beforehand; engage in advance; make arrangements for: as, to bespeak a place in a theater.
  • To stipulate, solicit, or ask for, as a favor: as, to bespeak a calm hearing.
  • To forebode; foretell.
  • To speak to; address.
  • To betoken; show; indicate, as by signs.
  • To speak up or out; exclaim; speak.
  • noun Among actors in Great Britain, a benefit: so called from the bespeaking of patronage by the actors, or of the play by the patrons. See benefit, 5.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To speak.
  • transitive verb To speak or arrange for beforehand; to order or engage against a future time.
  • transitive verb To show beforehand; to foretell; to indicate.
  • transitive verb To betoken; to show; to indicate by external marks or appearances.
  • transitive verb Poetic To speak to; to address.
  • noun A bespeaking. Among actors, a benefit (when a particular play is bespoken.)

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To speak about; tell of; relate; discuss.
  • verb transitive To speak for beforehand; engage in advance; make arrangements for; order or reserve in advance.
  • verb transitive To stipulate, solicit, ask for, or request, as in a favour.
  • verb transitive, archaic To forbode; foretell.
  • verb transitive, archaic, poetic To speak to; address.
  • verb transitive To betoken; show; indicate; foretell; suggest.
  • verb intransitive To speak up or out; exclaim; speak.
  • noun A request for a specific performance; a benefit performance, by a patron.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb be a signal for or a symptom of
  • verb express the need or desire for; ask for

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bispeken, to speak out, from Old English besprecan, to speak about.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bespeken, bispeken, from Old English *bespecan, besprecan ("to speak about, speak against, accuse of, claim at law, complain"), from Proto-Germanic *bisprekanan (“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").

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