speak·easy | \ˈspēk-ˌē-zē \
plural speakeasies

Definition of speakeasy 

: a place where alcoholic beverages are illegally sold specifically : such a place during the period of prohibition in the U.S.

Examples of speakeasy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

During Prohibition, the region’s secluded coves and then-remote hamlets became a magnet for rum-running, bootlegging and speakeasies. Jeanne Cooper, SFChronicle.com, "Where to watch the sunset with a cocktail around Half Moon Bay," 11 July 2018 In one hallway, a wooden bookshelf rotates to reveal a secret speakeasy lounge. Jack Flemming, latimes.com, "L.A. digital media firm Attn: expands from bite-sized videos to TV specials," 29 May 2018 Mlinaric’s book launch will be at the Prohibition-era speakeasy The Drifter, 676-8 N. Orleans St., Sunday from 2- to 5 p.m. Free admission. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Shipwrecks and sex antiques? Chicago’s weird and wonderful places highlighted in new book," 4 May 2018 Afterward, a surprise speakeasy reminiscent of the couple’s first meeting place was revealed to guests looking to stay up late. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "The Sun Literally Never Set at This Wedding in Iceland," 28 June 2018 The Gaslamp Quarter’s underground speakeasy, Prohibition, unveiled its new seasonal handcrafted cocktails, each inspired by a different California city. Carolina Gusman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Lion Fish Coastal Cuisine launches all new al fresco dining," 19 Apr. 2018 My next visit Despite Enzo’s lovely ambiance, the eatery doesn’t quite feel like a speakeasy, thanks to the large dining room (and mammoth directional signs outside). Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Enzo's Hideaway offers Italian fare paired with prohibition-style cocktails," 14 July 2018 Beside it, Death and Taxes feels like an intimate speakeasy, with a dark interior, chandeliers and comfortable leather couches. Natasha Bourlin, SFChronicle.com, "Increasingly hip Midtown Reno has a glow that’s not from neon," 29 June 2018 For many, Prohibition recalls a freewheeling era in American history with speakeasies, bootlegging, gangsters and G-men. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "The Bitter Aftertaste of Prohibition in American History," 9 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speakeasy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of speakeasy

1889, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near speakeasy



speak down




speaker key

Statistics for speakeasy

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for speakeasy

The first known use of speakeasy was in 1889

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English Language Learners Definition of speakeasy

: a place where alcoholic drinks were sold illegally in the U.S. during the 1920s

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What made you want to look up speakeasy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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