so to speak
so to speak
also, so to say
Meaning | Synonyms
- as it where
- in a manner of speaking
- sort of
- as you might say
- that is to say
- used to underline the fact that one is telling something in a strange or symbolic manner
- I will tell you what is going on but only because you are already family, so to speak.
- He is not allowed to go out with his friends. His wife sits on his head, so to speak.
- You have passed all of your exams, so to speak, and should be expecting an offer soon.
- If you moved to Canada, so to say. What you will do to get rid of the extreme cold?
The phrase has been used since the 1800s. There used to be a variant to it, and the phrase “so to say” was used in the same context. However, it has fallen into disuse and the phrase “so to speak” has gradually become more popular. It is not completely unheard of for people to use “so to say” and the phrase is not wrong. “So to speak” has been widely used since the late 1800s.
It originally meant “in the vernacular.” Vernacular is the everyday language used by a certain group of people or a certain class of people. It differs from formal English in the way that not everybody understands the speech if they are not familiar with the nuances.
Initially it was used by upper-class people to apologise for using what they concerned to be “lower-class” language or vernacular.