From Middle English specheles, from Old English sprǣċlēas (“speechless; without the power of speak”), from Proto-Germanic *sprēkalausaz, equivalent to speech + -less. Cognate with West Frisian sprakeleas (“speechless”), Dutch sprakeloos (“speechless”), German Low German spraaklos (“speechless”), German sprachlos (“speechless”).
speechless (not comparable)
- Not speaking; not knowing what to say; silent, especially due to surprise, amazement, etc.
- When he walked into his surprise birthday party, he was completely speechless.
- 1966, James Workman, The Mad Emperor, Melbourne, Sydney: Scripts, page 62:
- The attack was so unwarranted and delivered with such venom that his unpreparedness for it left him speechless.
- (archaic) Synonym of
- 1690, John Dryden, The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man, J.M., page 14:
- Immortal Pleaſures round my ſwimming Eyes did dance,
And ſpeechleſs Joys, in whoſe ſweet Tumult toſt,
I thought my Breath, and my new Being loſt.
- 1902, Gilbert Murray, Euripides, Longmans, Green, and co., page 32:
- O Mother Earth, O Sun that makest clean,
What poison have I heard, what speechless sin !