What does the idiom “So to Speak” mean? Idioms are a phrase that consists of figurative language that people use to express a thought or a feeling. These phrases have typically been in existence and used for hundreds of years, sometimes thousands. One of these idioms is the phrase “so to speak.” Here you will find the meaning of this phrase, its origin story, examples of how the phrase is used properly in everyday conversations/statements and other ways to say the same thing in a literal sense.
So to Speak
So to Speak Meaning
The meaning of the phrase “so to speak” is a way to refer to something or someone in an amusing way that is not necessarily correct.
Origin of this idiomatic expressions
This idiom has been widely used since the 1800s. The phrase began as “so to say” and over time was changed to the more popular “so to speak.” It was first used by those considered to be upper class as a way to apologize for speaking using what was considered to language of the lower class.
“So to Speak” Examples
Examples in Statements
A husband stating the reason he is not allowed to go out.
- “I can’t go out tonight. My wife is sitting on me, so to speak.”
A friend making a statement about his job.
- “The office was stressful today. There was an elephant in the room, so to speak.”
Examples in Conversation
A husband and wife having a conversation.
- Husband: I don’t know why our son is failing all his exams.
- Wife: Me either. It is almost like he is deliberately trying.
- Husband: Yes, like he some kind of brain-eating disease, so to speak.
Two friends having a conversation about work.
- Friend 1: I hate when I have to wake up earlier to come to work.
- Friend 2: Oh me too! It’s like I mine as well just be sleeping on my alarm clock, so to speak.
- They were all very similar. All cut from the same cloth, so to speak.
- I unlocked the secret, so to speak.
- He is, so to speak, a hardworking student.
Other Ways to Say “So To Speak”
Like all idiomatic phrases, there are literal ways to convey the same meaning. For instance, saying sort of, in a matter of speaking and as it were are all ways to say the same thing.
List of “So To Speak” synonyms:
- As it were
- If i may say
- As they say
- If I do say so
- As you might say