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Middle English[edit]


From Old English specan, from the earlier sprecan, from Proto-Germanic *sprekaną.


speken (third-person singular simple present speketh, present participle spekinge, first-/third-person singular past indicative spak, past participle speken)

  1. to speak (communicate using the voice)
    • a. 1382, John Wycliffe, “Psalms 108:1-3”, in Wycliffe's Bible:
      The title of the hundrid and eiȝtthe ſalm. To victorye, the ſalm of Dauid. / God, holde thou not ſtille my preiſyng; for the mouth of the ſynner, and the mouth of the gileful man is openyd on me. / Thei ſpaken ayens me with a gileful tunge, and thei cumpassiden me with wordis of hatrede; and fouȝten ayens me with out cauſe.
      The title of the one hundred and eighth psalm: "To Victory; the Psalm of David"/ / God; don't hold still my praising, as the mouths of the sinners and the mouths of the guilty have opened against me. / They spoke against me with a guilty tongue, they acted against me with words of hatred, and they fought against me without justification.
    • 14th Century, Chaucer, General Prologue
      And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
      Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
      And when he had drunk all the wine
      He would not speak a word other than Latin


Derived terms[edit]


  • English: speak
  • Scots: speke, speik