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

  • adj. Spoken aloud, especially in performance: spoken-word poetry.
  • adj. Performing or involving a performance of the spoken word: "Whenever [a newspaper] covers the poetry world, you can bet you will find spoken-word and street poets railing against the prudishness of the 'academic poets'” ( Maureen McLane).


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association and running since 1998, the Audies is the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken-word entertainment.

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  • Did you ever imagine that spoken-word poetry would take root in Rosslyn, Vienna, Chevy Chase and Kensington?

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  • Our radio stations remain among the best in the world; next time you're abroad, just try to find advert-free classical music and spoken-word programmes on your radio dial.

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  • Conan proceeded to welcome William Shatner back to recite “some real, verified quotes from Levi Johnston” as spoken-word poetry.

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  • Wimbledon, a MacArthur "Genius" grant, "Project Runway," "The Price is Right," the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest, the Booker Prize or a Grammy for best spoken-word album.

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  • Mr. Boyer started collecting poems after he realized that the spoken-word performances heard during Friday-night poetry assemblies should be archived in some form, especially because they were more diverse than those typically heard at poetry meetings.

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  • Enter Jefferson Bethke, a young "spoken-word" poet who recently posted the video "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus."

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  • Across America, this spoken-word poetry set to music was hyped as the cutting-edge sector of mainstream hip-hop, and open-mic battles broke out across the country.

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  • And while, for some, two spoken-word tracks – Untitled and Untitled (And Your Batty's So Round) – may bring to mind nothing so much as Baz Luhrmann's Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), others may find it all strangely addictive.

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  • If you're lucky you'll catch a live tango gig, a trapeze artist, or the intriguing Poetry Brothel spoken-word collective.

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