also mis-speak, late 14c., misspeken, "say amiss," also "speak insultingly (of)," from mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + speak (v.). From 1590s as "pronounce wrongly;" by 1890 as "speak otherwise than according to one's intentions." Related: Misspeaking; misspoken. Old English missprecan meant "to grumble, murmur;" In Middle English, misispeken "to say sinful things" is from early 13c.
Old English besprecan "speak about, speak against, complain," from be- + sprecan "to speak" (see speak (v.)). A common Germanic compound (cognates: Old Saxon bisprecan, Dutch bespreken, Old High German bisprehhan, German besprechen); originally "to call out," it evolved a wide range of meaning in English, including "speak up," "oppose," "request," "discuss, "arrange," and "to order (goods)" (1580s).
The connection of the senses is very loose; some of them appear to have arisen quite independently of each other from different applications of BE- pref. [OED]
Related: Bespeaking; bespoke.
Old English spæc "act of speaking; power of speaking; manner of speaking; statement, discourse, narrative, formal utterance; language," variant of spræc, from Proto-Germanic *sprek-, *spek- (source also of Danish sprog, Old Saxon spraca, Old Frisian spreke, Dutch spraak, Old High German sprahha, German Sprache "speech;" see speak (v.))
The spr- forms were extinct in English by 1200. Meaning "address delivered to an audience" first recorded 1580s.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink
Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
Will risk t' other half for the freedom to speak,
Caring naught for what vengeance the mob has in store,
Let that mob be the upper ten thousand or lower.
[James Russell Lowell, "A Fable for Critics," 1848]
But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. ... I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. [Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., dissent to "Abrams v. United States," 1919]
in rhetoric, "a denial of an intention to speak of something which nonetheless is hinted at," 1650s, from Late Latin apophasis, from Greek apophasis "denial, negation," from apophanai "to speak off," from apo "off, away from" (see apo-) + phanai "to speak," related to phēmē "voice" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").
1570s, "speak against, oppose" (a sense now obsolete); 1580s, "assert the contrary or opposite of," from Latin contradictus, past participle of contradicere, in classical Latin contra dicere "to speak against," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly").
Meaning "deny the words or assertions of, speak in contradiction" is from c. 1600. Of statements, etc., "be inconsistent with," c. 1600. Related: Contradicted; contradicting; contradictive.