\ ˈȯr-əl How to pronounce oral (audio) , ˈär- \

Definition of oral

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : uttered by the mouth or in words : spoken oral traditions
b : using speech or the lips especially in teaching the deaf
2a : of, given through, or involving the mouth oral health an oral vaccine
b : being on or relating to the same surface as the mouth
3a : of, relating to, or characterized by the first stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory during which libidinal gratification is derived from intake (as of food), by sucking, and later by biting
b : of, relating to, or characterized by personality traits of passive dependency and aggressiveness



Definition of oral (Entry 2 of 3)

: an oral examination usually used in plural


geographical name
\ ȯ-ˈräl How to pronounce Oral (audio) \
variants: or Uralsk \ ü-​ˈrälsk How to pronounce Oral (audio) , yu̇-​ˈralsk \

Definition of Oral (Entry 3 of 3)

city on the Ural River in western Kazakhstan population 202,161

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Other Words from oral


orality \ ȯ-​ˈra-​lə-​tē How to pronounce Oral (audio) , ō-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for oral

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of oral in a Sentence

Adjective She practices good oral hygiene by brushing her teeth at least twice a day. As part of her oral examination, she had to recite the names of all the presidents.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The oral arguments could set the stage for an eventful week. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "As Arctic Refuge oil lease sale looms, a court will consider a request to halt the Trump administration from issuing leases," 3 Jan. 2021 In October, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Oracle's decade-long battle with Google over the latter's use of Java APIs in Android. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "2020’s 20 most-commented stories," 25 Dec. 2020 Two eighth-grade girls, Kaylie and Kyleigh, who never participate in oral arguments except to roll their eyes. Washington Post, "Gene Weingarten: My elderly dog could be a Supreme Court justice. Technically.," 24 Dec. 2020 Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case aiming to end the Affordable Care Act. Sarah Kliff, New York Times, "The Vaccines Are Supposed to Be Free. Surprise Bills Could Happen Anyway.," 17 Dec. 2020 On Wednesday, the appeals court issued a ruling extending the stay and scheduled oral arguments for Jan. 19. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County restaurants to remain closed as appeals court extends stay of judge’s reopening order," 23 Dec. 2020 The Justice Department conceded during oral arguments this month that the government lacked records on many of the 10.5 million or so undocumented immigrants in the country. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Court Stands on Principle," 18 Dec. 2020 On Saturday, while the Wisconsin Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in this case, a federal judge appointed by Mr. Trump dismissed a separate effort from the president to overturn Wisconsin's election results. Adam Brewster, CBS News, "Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects Trump campaign effort to toss ballots just before electors meet," 14 Dec. 2020 The legal eagles of the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Facebook’s latest acquisition pushes outside its comfort zone," 1 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Due to its remoteness, Svan culture evolved over the centuries in isolation from the rest of Georgian lands, developing a unique oral-only language and traditions such as ritual beard cutting and blood feuds. Melissa Findley, National Geographic, "Destinations on the rise for 2021," 20 Nov. 2020 Astrid agrees, setting a few ground rules: no eye contact, no kissing after oral. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "The Politician Season 2 Binge Club Recap: Episodes 1-7," 24 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oral.' 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 oral


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oral


Latin or-, os mouth; akin to Old Norse ōss mouth of a river, Sanskrit ās mouth

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oral. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for oral

How to pronounce Oral (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the mouth
used to describe a medicine that you eat or swallow
: spoken rather than written



English Language Learners Definition of oral (Entry 2 of 2)

: a test in which you answer questions by speaking rather than by writing : an oral examination
\ ˈȯr-əl How to pronounce oral (audio) \

Kids Definition of oral

1 : spoken entry 2 sense 1 an oral agreement
2 : of, involving, or given by the mouth an oral medication oral hygiene

Other Words from oral

orally adverb
\ ˈōr-əl, ˈȯr-, ˈär- How to pronounce oral (audio) \

Medical Definition of oral

1a : of, relating to, or involving the mouth : buccal the oral mucous membrane
b : given or taken through or by way of the mouth an oral vaccine an oral suspension of a drug
c : acting on the mouth oral diseases
2 : emphasizing lipreading and the development of vocal expression in teaching the deaf — compare manual sense 2
3a : of, relating to, or characterized by the first stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory during which libidinal gratification is derived from intake (as of food), by sucking, and later by biting
b : of, relating to, or characterized by personality traits of passive dependence and aggressiveness — compare anal sense 2, genital sense 3, phallic sense 2

Other Words from oral

orality \ ȯ-​ˈral-​ət-​ē, ō-​ How to pronounce oral (audio) \ noun, plural oralities
orally adverb

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Comments on oral

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