Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace – Meaning, Origin and Usage

When you hear the phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace,” you might think of a couple getting married. The term is often used in Christian weddings, but it is also used in other situations. If you want to know more, this is the perfect place for you. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace” is often used in wedding ceremonies. It means that if anyone objects to the marriage, they should speak up now, or they will have to accept the union and remain silent forever. This phrase is also generally used to mean that if you have something to say, you should say it now, or you will never have the chance to say it. For example, if you are thinking about telling your boss that you quit, you might say to yourself, “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

It is a way of saying that you should take advantage of the opportunity to speak up because you may never have that chance again. It’s a way of telling someone to seize the moment.

Example Usage

“Sarah, before you marry John, there’s something you should know about him. I have to speak now or forever hold my peace.”

“You have one minute to speak now or forever hold your peace.”

“She better speak now or forever hold her peace since she’ll never get another chance.”

“I’m going to speak now or forever hold my peace.”

Origin

The phrase appears in the Book of Common Prayer’s section on marriage liturgy. The original version of this book was published in 1549. During medieval times, there was a legal process called “reading the banns.” It was read out loud in church for three Sundays in a row. The purpose of this was to give anyone who had an objection to the marriage a chance to speak up. The phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace” comes from this practice.

Phrases Similar to Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

  • “Seize the day” – This phrase means to take advantage of the present moment because it might be your only chance.
  • “Carpe diem” – This phrase is Latin for “seize the day.” It is similar to “speak now or forever hold your peace.”
  • “Strike while the iron is hot” – This phrase means to take advantage of a situation while it is still favorable.
  • “Now or never” – This phrase means that you should do something now because you might never have the chance to do it again.

Phrases Opposite to Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

  • “Not another peep out of you!” is used to tell someone to be quiet and not say anything else. It is often said in a threatening or angry tone.
  • “Keep your trap shut!” is an intense way of telling someone to stop talking.
  • “Zip it!” is a less aggressive way of telling someone to keep quiet.

What is The Correct Saying?

  • The phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace” is the correct saying.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

It is often incorrectly assumed that the phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace” can only be used in a wedding ceremony. While it is commonly used in weddings, this phrase has been used in many different contexts throughout history.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Here are some acceptable examples of using the phrase:

  • Now that she has decided to have a kid, it’s better to speak now or forever hold your peace about her mental illness.
  • He asked her to marry him, so if you want to declare your love, now is the time to speak now or forever hold your peace.
  • The police are here to take statements about the robbery, if you know anything, speak now or forever hold your peace about what went down.
  • Since you want the job, it is important for you to speak now or forever hold your peace about the harassment you have faced in the past.

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