Definition of bespeak in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(of an appearance or action) suggest; be evidence of.

    ‘the attractive tree-lined road bespoke money’
    • ‘In a related installation, an audio montage of individual accounts bespoke the personal and environmental impact of the disease.’
    • ‘To suggest, on the contrary, that all scientists are uniformly motivated by anti-human sentiments bespeaks an extreme and unwarranted pessimism.’
    • ‘The precision of the passage bespeaks a close, first hand knowledge of accounting born of practical experience.’
    • ‘And her patrician demeanour bespeaks her standing in the sport over which she has reigned supreme for a period spanning three Olympics.’
    • ‘Conversely, the poetic imagery, slower pace, and more irregular forms of t'ai chi bespeak a more leisurely, aristocratic development, in which time could be taken and manuscripts kept.’
    • ‘Her jaw was square and had a set to it, which bespoke of centuries of feudal authority.’
    • ‘The antiquities of the state bespoke an even remoter past and presented another promising field of inquiry.’
    • ‘Ideal and absurd, they bespeak a wonderfully eccentric imagination.’
    • ‘The cotton-poly blend of the shirt with its circa 1970s design bespeaks a certain creative savvy.’
    • ‘The way in which a gentleman wears his waist-coat bespeaks much about his character.’
    • ‘As one might guess, the double-nature of this film's title bespeaks the double-nature of its narrative, its theme, and its major characters.’
    • ‘His accent, body language and style of dress, his no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase conversation all bespoke a powerful national culture.’
    • ‘For every community and every people, the seasons of our joy and sorrow bespeak our deepest values.’
    • ‘Its quiet elegance suggests a gentle man of few words; its simplicity bespeaks someone who lived plainly and worked hard.’
    • ‘That the papers do not form a cohesive whole bespeaks the great cultural variation of Africa and the ways that visual cultures arise from and affect many different aspects of everyday life.’
    • ‘They all bespeak a past that didn't have the Valley's problems of today that I'll muse about over the next few weeks.’
    • ‘This bespeaks a progressive, enlightened court, hardly stifling and revolt-inducing.’
    • ‘Not that it was as bad, but to even raise the comparison bespeaks a very telling insecurity.’
    • ‘This evidence, along with the centralized organization of labor, bespeaks a dramatic, rapid shift in sociopolitical organization.’
    • ‘But this bespeaks a remarkably narrow reading.’
    indicate, be an indication of, be evidence of, be a sign of, testify to, bear witness to, reflect, demonstrate, show, manifest, display, signify, denote, point to, evince, evidence
    View synonyms
  • 2Order or reserve (something) in advance.

    ‘obtaining the affidavits that it has been necessary to bespeak’
    • ‘This day, poor Tom Pepys, the turner, was with me, and Kate Joyce, to bespeak places—one for himself, the other for her husband.’
    • ‘It is the duty of solicitors to bespeak the court file, if any, from the Registry to Court in time for such applications.’
    • ‘If the judgment of the trial on 22nd June was recorded, as it should have been, a transcript of it was never bespoken.’
    • ‘Maybe you are researching your genealogy, which is a valid ground to bespeak a transcript of a birth certificate.’
    • ‘You will therefore wish me a good supper at Bill Hill, and I will remember to bespeak some roasted potatoes.’
  • 3archaic Speak to.

    ‘and in disgrace bespoke him thus’
    • ‘And when he had found her, he bespoke her in this wise: "Lady, my garden boy hath assuredly gone entirely mad".’
    • ‘He bespoke her several times, but she was silent and answered him not a word; so he went out from her and going in to the Queen, told her what had passed between himself and the Lady.’
    • ‘He bespoke them now and then, I signaled that I understood, and we let it go at that.’
    • ‘Finally he realized she could only hear him if he bespoke her out of doors.’
    • ‘“You fool,” she bespoke him as he began to break away, “you’ll surely perish in such weather regardless of your Coordinator capabilities”.’


Old English bisprecan ‘speak up, speak out’ (see be-, speak), later ‘discuss, decide on’, hence ‘order’ ( bespeak (sense 2), late 16th century).