so to speak


Alternative formsEdit


so to speak

  1. In a manner of speaking.
    • 1876, Mark Twain, chapter 4, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
      Then Tom girded up his loins, so to speak, and went to work.
    • 1902, Joseph Conrad, Youth:
      This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea interpenetrate, so to speak.
    • 1903, O. Henry, “A Cosmopolitan in a Cafe”, in The Four Million:
      He took the great, round world in his hand, so to speak, familiarly, contemptuously, and it seemed no larger than the seed of a Maraschino cherry in a table d'hôte grape fruit.
    • 2020 May 5, James Barron; Colin Moynihan, “Obama Visits Firehouse in Midtown Manhattan”, in New York Times[1], retrieved 2011 November 24:
      For Firefighter Joseph Ceravolo, President Obama turned up the heat, so to speak, even before he sat down to an early lunch on Thursday.

Usage notesEdit

Often used to indicate a metaphor or a pun.