up·​speak ˈəp-ˌspēk How to pronounce upspeak (audio)
variants or less commonly up-speak
: uptalk
Speak with confidence. Lots of people have speech patterns that convey uncertainty. Eliminate upspeak—giving the last syllable a higher inflection.Kathryn Rem, The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Illinois), 21 June 1998
… the giddy upspeak of the L.A. Basin (Hi? My name is Mary?) …Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar. 2000
upspeak intransitive verb
or less commonly up-speak
upspoke ˈəp-ˌspōk How to pronounce upspeak (audio) also up-spoke; upspoken ˈəp-ˌspō-kən How to pronounce upspeak (audio) also up-spoken; upspeaking also up-speaking; upspeaks also up-speaks
There's this linguist? Cynthia McLemore? Who studied female students at the University of Texas? Who up-speak a lot? And she found out that up-talk may very well serve a useful purpose. All those up inflections? They draw attention to what one says, McLemore claims. Bonnie McGrath, Chicago Tribune, 28 Nov. 1993

Word History

First Known Use

1994, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of upspeak was in 1994

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Dictionary Entries Near upspeak

Cite this Entry

“Upspeak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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