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

Definition of oral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 2)

: an oral examination usually used in plural

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 Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison but has since appealed his landmark #MeToo conviction, with the First Judicial Department of New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division hearing oral arguments on the challenge last December. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 11 May 2022 After oral arguments in each case, the justices take an initial private vote and then begin writing opinions. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 6 May 2022 And in December 2021, the court majority appeared swayed by oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Mississippi case poised to serve as a pretext to overturn all or part of Roe v. Wade. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 5 May 2022 The justices hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the court fight over Mississippi's 15-week ban. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 5 May 2022 By comparison, Supreme Court justices appear for oral arguments, ask questions (well, sometimes) and emit opinions later. Matt Pearcestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Many antiabortion advocates had been hopeful the high court would move to overturn Roe, citing signs the justices were open to it during December’s oral arguments. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 Politico said the draft was circulated in February, about two months after oral arguments in the blockbuster case. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 3 May 2022 After hearing oral arguments from all parties Friday afternoon, Rigmaiden denied that motion on Monday at the start of an afternoon hearing, which was held out the presence of the jury. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 3 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, it can also be transmitted via oral-to-genital contact. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 9 Dec. 2021 Both in Britain and the United States, cabotegravir and rilpivirine can be prescribed and used after an initial oral (tablet) lead-in period. Somayeh Malekian, ABC News, 20 Nov. 2021 The Ohio Supreme Court’s certification exam has two parts, one written and one oral. Cameron Fields, cleveland, 29 Sep. 2021 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, 20 Nov. 2020 Astrid agrees, setting a few ground rules: no eye contact, no kissing after oral. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, 24 June 2020 See More

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.

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

Learn More About oral

Dictionary Entries Near oral

ora et labora



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Statistics for oral

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oral. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for oral


\ 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

Oral geographical name

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

Definition of Oral

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

More from Merriam-Webster on oral

Nglish: Translation of oral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oral for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oral


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