speak-easy

speakeasy

[speek-ee-zee]
noun, plural speakeasies.
a saloon or nightclub selling alcoholic beverages illegally, especially during Prohibition.

Origin:
1885–90, Americanism; speak + easy

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World English Dictionary
speakeasy (ˈspiːkˌiːzɪ)
 
n , pl -easies
(US) a place where alcoholic drink was sold illicitly during Prohibition
 
[C19: from speak + easy (in the sense: gently, quietly)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

speakeasy
"unlicensed saloon," 1889 (in New York "Voice"), from speak + easy, from the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police and neighbors. The word gained wide currency in U.S. during Prohibition (1920-1932). In early 19c. Ir. and British dialect,
a speak softly shop meant "smuggler's den."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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