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BESPEAK

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BESPEAK

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:32 pm

• bespeak •

Pronunciation: bi-speekHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To foretell, predict, to be a sign of. 2. To request, to order in advance, or to reserve or book.

Notes: Today's Good Word, just like the verb that it is derived from, speak, is a strong verb with an anomalous conjugation: bespeak, bespoke, bespoken. Although it may reek a bit of days long past, the word is still alive in English and enjoys being used, by and large correctly. The past tense of this verb has a rather unusual use. It can mean "tailor-made" or "selling only tailor-made clothes", as a bespoke suit or a bespoke tailor—even a bespoke tailor shop.

In Play: This word comes in very handy when clues are examined: "The scowl on the boss's face bespeaks bad news." In addition, we are free to use it for requests of any kind: "If I could bespeak a favor of you: please stop using the word bespeak when talking to me. Thanks." How about this: "The book is checked out of the library, but I have bespoken it and will get it as soon as it is returned."

Word History: This Good Word is clearly made up of the (purely!) English prefix be- "about, around" + speak. The prefix went on to accumulate several other meanings before we stopped using it to produce new words. Still, traces of the original meaning usually hover around the remaining verbs it adorns. To bemoan a fact is to moan about it, to beset with problems is to surround someone with them, and to bespeak a problem is to speak about it in a specific way. The related German word for "speak", sprechen, shows that English lost an R somewhere along the way. The root underlying the Germanic verb kept the R in Latin spargere "to strew, scatter", the word that underlies the English borrowing sparse. (The suggestion of today's Good Word bespeaks the fertile vocabularies of Peggy Nielsen and Jeremy Busch, for which I bespeak the gratitude of all those reading this.)
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Postby Slava » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:46 pm

A great word from the Word of the Day archives! Here are some references to it:

http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=15770

http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=20707

http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4540

Feel free to add wherever you wish! A, B, C, or all three :!:
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby misterdoe » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:50 pm

But these days I rarely see bespeak or bespoken, only bespoke, referring to such things as custom-tailored men's suits or interior finishes of luxury cars. :?
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Postby Slava » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:56 pm

It doesn't mean those words aren't out there, available for glorious confusing usage!

Call your local pizza shop and ask if you can order a bespoke pizza.

At your fine dining establishment, request a bespoke salad, without onions or black olives.

Etc.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:57 pm

I cannot tell you the last time I ran across the word, unless
in a novel of some sort.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Slava » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:17 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:I cannot tell you the last time I ran across the word, unless in a novel of some sort.
Stationery suppliers sometimes use it. As in bespoke binders, pens, and the like. Stuff with the corporate logo or name on it.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:19 pm

I'll have to check to see if there are any local
stationers. Usually only see that material
in Home Depot, Staples and their ilk.
Would be an interesting diversion to find such
a place and visit.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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