What's the phrase — and missing word — that can be used to indicate that someone has spoken well?

She _____ herself quite nicely.

It's a bit of an odd word — something like efface or escape. It seems to be on the tip of my tongue but I can't remember it now...

The idea is that she defended herself well and did a good job saying what she had to say.

  • 1
    By "spoken well," do you mean "chose words well" or "enunciated clearly"?
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 20:16
  • Defended herself well. More in terms of they did a good job saying what they had to say. Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 20:17
  • 3
    To express oneself is a phrase often used, especially with complementary words. The etymology is interesting, especially in phrases like expressed milk. Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 20:20
  • Rephrasing the sentence, you may simply say that she was eloquent or if you want to emphasize the job done : she demonstrated such eloquence.
    – Graffito
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 23:40
  • Other posibility : she argued quite nicely
    – Graffito
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


While not really used for speaking [enunciating] well, acquit does fit your sentence.

acquit, v.

5.d. reflexive. To discharge oneself of a duty, responsibility, or office; to perform a task, accomplish a commission, etc.

OED (probably paywalled)

One can certainly acquit oneself well in giving a speech or some other task. The verb seems only to be used positively; people do not generally acquit themselves badly.

  • My dictionary tags that definition with "archaic", so it's probably not the right one to refer to. The more modern definition is "conduct oneself or perform in a specied way".
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 21:26
  • 1
    But I suspect John Lawler's comment is what the OP is really looking for.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 21:27
  • Hmm. OED didn't mark it as archaic in 2011. But you're probably right. It could be 6a. (This answer was really to give an answer. If you have a better answer, feel free!)
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 21:31
  • I was using my Mac's dictionary, which only has 2 senses, and this is 2a.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 21:32
  • @AndrewLeach plus the phrase "acquit oneself": merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquit%20oneself Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 22:38

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