I am looking for the exact meaning of the verb “to speak at”. When we use speak at something instead of speak of something?
For example what is the meaning of this sentence:

They allow him to speak at every hazard.

  • 2
    Where did you find this hazard sentence? Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 4:35

1 Answer 1

  1. They allow him to speak at every hazard.

This sentence is ambiguous.

In theory, it could mean either of the following:

  • They allow him to speak whenever they encounter a hazard.
    → "Now that we've encountered another hazard, you can take your gag out if you have something to say."

  • They allow him to address himself to every hazard they encounter.
    → "Hi, hazard. I'm glad to meet you.")

But neither of those interpretations mean the same thing as the following:

  1. They allow him to speak of every hazard.
  • They allow him to orate on the topic of every hazard they will or might encounter.
    → "On this journey, we'll encounter many hazards. The first is well documented . . .")
  • How do you read this line of Whitman: “I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard.” Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 10:41
  • @Connoisseur I'd say it's likely similar to my first interpretation—they speak up when there's a hazard—but it's difficult to say without hearing more. And poetic phrases like this often remain subjective. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 15:02

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