spo·​ken | \ ˈspō-kən How to pronounce spoken (audio) \

Definition of spoken

1 : delivered by word of mouth : oral
2 : characterized by speaking in (such) a manner used in combination soft-spokenplainspoken

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Synonyms & Antonyms for spoken


nuncupative, oral, unwritten, verbal, viva voce, word-of-mouth


paper, written

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Examples of spoken in a Sentence

a spoken agreement is too easily broken a politician who knows the power of the spoken word

Recent Examples on the Web

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell likes to think of himself as a plain-spoken communicator, but his past three months as the central bank’s leader have proved challenging because markets have occasionally misunderstood him. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Plain-Spoken Fed Chairman Sometimes Leaves Markets Confused," 29 Jan. 2019 By most accounts, Archbishop Emeritus Hunthausen was a humble man, soft-spoken and unpretentious. Janet I. Tu, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Hunthausen dies at 96," 23 July 2018 Patients and staff describe Dr. Carmichael as passionate about her work, soft-spoken and considerate, and funny. Karlie Brand, sandiegouniontribune.com, "8 reasons you’ll wish this dentist was yours," 11 July 2018 Zayn seemed the type, after all: a soft-spoken and artistically gifted teen who liked to sing alone in his bedroom and tinkered with rudimentary song-recording equipment. Carrie Battan, GQ, "How Do You Explain Zayn?," 18 June 2018 Soft-spoken and elegant, Koontz brought up the Radical Faeries movement. New York Times, "Somewhere, Away From It All," 13 Jan. 2018 But friends of Ola Bini say the soft-spoken encryption expert is being unfairly targeted for his activism on behalf of digital privacy. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Ace Swedish coder held by Ecuador was defender of Assange," 14 Apr. 2019 What began as a spoken tale became widely known when The Dubliners shared it in 1967. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Best Irish Songs to Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 Three girls recited a spoken word poem, and one, Milwaukee Rufus King student Tatiana Washington, read an open letter to the speaker. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 Miles More students arrive in Paul Ryan's hometown and rally for gun control," 28 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spoken.' 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 spoken

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spoken

past participle of speak

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Statistics for spoken

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spoken

The first known use of spoken was in 1560

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More Definitions for spoken



English Language Learners Definition of spoken

: using speech and not writing
: speaking in a specified manner


Kids Definition of spoken

 (Entry 1 of 2)

past participle of speak


spo·​ken | \ ˈspō-kən How to pronounce spoken (audio) \

Kids Definition of spoken (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : expressed in speech : oral a spoken message
2 : used in speaking the spoken language
3 : speaking in a specified manner soft-spoken

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More from Merriam-Webster on spoken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spoken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spoken

Spanish Central: Translation of spoken

Nglish: Translation of spoken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spoken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spoken

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


to take the place or position of

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