non·​ver·​bal | \ ˌnän-ˈvər-bəl How to pronounce nonverbal (audio) \

Definition of nonverbal

: not verbal: such as
a : not involving or using words Still, this pope projects eloquence in his off-the-cuff remarks or even during the long interludes between speeches when he is engaged in nonverbal communication with individuals and crowds.— John S. Driscoll … psychological aggression refers to both coercive verbal behaviors (e.g., insulting or swearing at partner) and coercive nonverbal behaviors that are not directed at the partner's body (e.g., slamming doors or smashing objects).— Alan E. Kazdin et al.
b : being other than verbal … some hidden, nonverbal quality of her life that could only be alluded to in the act of painting.— Diane Armitage
c : lacking or appearing to lack the ability to engage in speech She finds she can communicate with nonverbal children using drum beats, for example.— Robert S. Greenberger

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Other Words from nonverbal

nonverbally \ ˌnän-​ˈvər-​bə-​lē How to pronounce nonverbally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of nonverbal in a Sentence

Facial expressions are very important for nonverbal communication.

Recent Examples on the Web

Lucia—nicknamed LuBird—is in a wheelchair, legally blind, and nonverbal. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Why cities need accessible playgrounds," 20 July 2018 Other practices include making checklists in advance and nonverbal gestures, such as a pinch of the knee. New York Times, "The Boundary Between Abuse and B.D.S.M.," 23 May 2018 Participants will learn how to use nonverbal gestures to enhance speech, handle nerves, project confidence, and identify strengths and weaknesses. Margeaux Sippell,, "Weekend business agenda," 20 Apr. 2018 The investigation revealed that Stevens verbally and physically abused nonverbal, autistic students who were 8 and 9 years old, according to the sheriff's office. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Macomb teacher charged with abusing nonverbal autistic students," 8 Feb. 2018 Otto has autism and is nonverbal, but communicates fluently with a letter board that allows him to spell out sentences. Deborah Sullivan Brennan,, "Del Mar students plunge into open waters with trailblazing distance swims," 23 May 2018 Their son, listed in court records as A.B., relies primarily on nonverbal communication to express himself. Marisa Kwiatkowski, Indianapolis Star, "Anthem settles lawsuit over denial of coverage for autism therapy," 10 Apr. 2018 The children often struggle with social skills, speech or nonverbal communication, as well as repetitive behavior. Eam Asaduzzaman And Shababa Iqbal, The Christian Science Monitor, "School in Bangladesh builds confidence for autistic students – and their parents," 10 July 2018 Follow the tips below: • Keep good eye contact and be aware of your nonverbal language when others are talking. Kimberly Thompson, Houston Chronicle, "Career Rescue: Soft skills help energy-job interview," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonverbal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nonverbal

1846, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of nonverbal was in 1846

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English Language Learners Definition of nonverbal

: not involving or using words
: not able to speak

More from Merriam-Webster on nonverbal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nonverbal

Nglish: Translation of nonverbal for Spanish Speakers

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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