non·​ver·​bal ˌnän-ˈvər-bəl How to pronounce nonverbal (audio)
: not verbal: such as
: 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.
: being other than verbal
… some hidden, nonverbal quality of her life that could only be alluded to in the act of painting.Diane Armitage
: 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
nonverbally adverb

Examples of nonverbal in a Sentence

Facial expressions are very important for nonverbal communication.
Recent Examples on the Web The design enables visuo-haptic nonverbal communication between humans and robots and improves the robot’s aesthetics by enhancing its biomorphic qualities. IEEE Spectrum, 17 Nov. 2023 Advertisement Business Pain, exhaustion rampant among Amazon warehouse workers, study says Oct. 25, 2023 Because of his disorders, Kopp has difficulty with social interactions, nonverbal communication and difficulty reading, according to the initial complaint filed in February 2021. Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Aside from listening, pay attention to your nonverbal communication too. Nikkya Hargrove, Parents, 13 Nov. 2023 Workers will miss out on nonverbal cues, offhand comments, as well as the mood, and tone of their coworkers. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2023 Some of the young men also have developmental disabilities like nonverbal autism and dwarfism. Joanne Fowler, Peoplemag, 29 Oct. 2023 One of the many reasons to prefer the real world to the virtual is the rich array of nonverbal behaviors that can be used in just such situations. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2023 But musicians also have different, nonverbal outlets. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2023 Some autism apps mimic human interactions by, for example, teaching social and nonverbal communication using cartoons or human models. Lisa Jo Rudy, Verywell Health, 21 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonverbal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1846, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonverbal was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near nonverbal

Cite this Entry

“Nonverbal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


non·​ver·​bal (ˈ)nän-ˈvər-bəl How to pronounce nonverbal (audio)
: being other than verbal
nonverbal symbols
: involving little use of language
nonverbal tests
nonverbally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on nonverbal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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