From Middle English spake, spak, from Old Norse spakr (“wise, gentle, quiet”), from Proto-Germanic *spakaz (“wise, clever”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peǵ- (“to understand; intelligent, attentive”). Cognate with Swedish spak (“manageable”), Danish spag (“quiet, gentle, timid, tame”).
- (archaic) simple past tense of
- 1883–1885, Friedrich Nietzsche, “Zarathustra's Prologue”, in Thomas Common, transl., Thus Spake Zarathustra, published 1909:
- But at last his heart changed,—and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the sun, and spake thus unto it: Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!
- spake in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.
- spake in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- Alternative form of