so to speak



Alternative formsEdit


so to speak

  1. In a manner of speaking.
    • 1876, Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, ch. 4:
      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.
    • 2011 May 5, James Barron and Colin Moynihan, "Obama Visits Firehouse in Midtown Manhattan," New York Times (retrieved 24 Nov 2011):
      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 as an accompaniment to a metaphor or a pun.



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