Hi, I just had an argument with a friend on the phrase "Speak now or forever hold your peace", usually used in matrimonial proceedings. According to him, it ought to be "Speak now or forever hold your piece" which though not grammatically wrong, it in my opinion not the proper usage in the context of the original phrase.

Can someone shed some light on this please? I am absolutely convinced that its shd be PEACE and not PIECE. Emotion: smile

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Comments  (Page 2) 

You would argue, then, that the traditional wedding vows in the Book of Common Prayer are worded incorrectly?

If any person here can show cause why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.

From http://www.dotcomwomen.com/home/wedding/traditional-wedding-vows.shtml

Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Common_Prayer

The following excerpts from the dictionaries that say "hold your peace" is the correct expression:

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

hold your peace/tongue

(old-fashioned) to say nothing although you would like to give your opinion.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary

12. hold or keep one's peace, to refrain from or cease speaking; keep silent: He told her to hold her peace until he had finished.

Compact Oxford English Dictionary

hold one's peace

remain silent about something
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What's a linguistic cousin?

I vote for peace because if I object to anything I am certainly not coming forward to hold someone's piece.

Emotion: sweating

From Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor:

'Speak your piece' and 'hold your peace'

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speak your piece and hold your peace are two common idioms in English.
It's easy to confuse the spelling of piece/peace in these idioms, but there is a logic to the difference.
Speak your piece means "state your opinion or view." One sense of the word piece is specific to this expression.
He'd planned to speak his piece at the next meeting.
I encourage you all to speak your piece before we decide.
Several other residents came forward to speak their piece.
Hold your peace means the same as hold your tongue: "to keep silent or to not say anything about something." It's commonly heard in traditional marriage vows:
Should anyone here present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace. (This line is old-fashioned and not used very often anymore, but is heard in old movies depicting wedding ceremonies).
You must hold your peace and accept the changes.
The waiter was discreet and held his peace.
I always thought it was "Speak now or forever hold your peas".
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AnonymousI always thought it was "Speak now or forever hold your peas".
Well, having read this thread, you now know otherwise,
Good morning, I've just asked some friends if they would like to go out tonight, I've used the phrase "speak now or forever hold your peace/peice", it made me think peace as in quiet, harmony, at rest, I mean piece as in speak your mind, have your say...Anyway, I've just come across your very old post and decided, it should be "piece"... Still haven't had any response from my friends so which way should I take that...Lol...
, I've just . . . decided, it should be "piece"

Bad decision! Emotion: crying
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That is choice to have that beleife but why say if when you don't?
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