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TO SPEAK. This term is used in the English law, to signify the permission given by a court to the prosecutor and defendant in some cases of misdemeanor, to agree together, after which the prosecutor comes into court and declares himself to be satisfied; when the court pass a nominal sentence. 1 Chit. Pr. 17.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
He avoids stilted language and does not speak down to the reader.
Be humorous and don't speak down to them," says Moran, who emphasizes that you shouldn't use slang because it comes and goes very quickly and you might be using it in the wrong context.
I think they're a great couple but she does speak down to him which most men wouldn't put up with so I guess it was only a matter of time!