verb

noun
\ ˈvərb How to pronounce verb (audio) \

Definition of verb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a word that characteristically is the grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes nearly devoid of these especially when used as an auxiliary or linking verb

verb

verb
verbed; verbing

Definition of verb (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to use (a word and especially a noun) as a verb : to make (a word) into a verb A television announcer in Vero Beach, Fla., spoke of a promise "to upkeep the beach," thus verbing a word that had been in use as an honest noun since 1884.— James Kilpatrick But it is by no means unusual for a noun to be verbed.— Theodore M. Bernstein

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Other Words from verb

Noun

verbless \ ˈvər-​bləs How to pronounce verbless (audio) \ adjective

What is a verb?

Verbs are words that show an action (sing), occurrence (develop), or state of being (exist). Almost every sentence requires a verb. The basic form of a verb is known as its infinitive. The forms call, love, break, and go are all infinitives.

Almost all verbs have two other important forms called participles. Participles are forms that are used to create several verb tenses (forms that are used to show when an action happened); they can also be used as adjectives. The present participle always ends in -ing: calling, loving, breaking, going. (There is also a kind of noun, called a gerund, that is identical in form to the present participle form of a verb.) The past participle usually ends in -ed, but many past participles have irregular endings: called, loved, broken, gone.

The verb's past tense usually has the same -ed form as the past participle. For many verbs, however, the past tense is irregular. An irregular past tense is not always identical to an irregular past participle: called, loved, broke, went.

The two main kinds of verbs, transitive verbs and intransitive verbs, are discussed at the entries for transitive and intransitive.

Examples of verb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hebrew, like Arabic, assigns a gender to verbs, nouns, and adjectives based on the noun. Washington Post, "A guide to how gender-neutral language is developing around the world," 15 Dec. 2019 Earlier in the show, Fallon asked his celebrity guests for a series of nouns, adjectives, verbs, phrases, expletives, etc. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Keri Russell and Jon Hamm play goofy flight attendants for Jimmy Fallon's Mad Lib Theater," 12 Dec. 2019 So what comes first in the sentence would be the subject, what's happening to the subject will be the verb, putting more than one of something together to make the plural, and so forth. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Never mind the naysayers: Emoji are a vital part of online communication," 1 Dec. 2019 Despite containing a verb, this song barely has any forward motion. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Elizabeth Warren’s Plan Nine from Outer Space," 19 Nov. 2019 Our surveys enabled us to map with precision the areas corresponding to the use of seven regional verbs and expressions. Mathieu Avanzi, Quartz, "Which cheek and how many? The origins of the other French kiss," 6 Nov. 2019 More verbs mean more fun Previous SlideNext Slide Gooigi can get places that the meatsack version of Luigi cannot: through any sort of metal grate and material, in particular. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Luigi’s Mansion 3 review: The most “Nintendo” game from Nintendo in years," 28 Oct. 2019 Or at least that’s how the criticism will be described. Perhaps instead of editorializing about the motives of a speaker— using a verb that often makes readers think of animals trying to eat other animals—reporters might simply quote the speaker. James Freeman, WSJ, "When Politicians ‘Pounce’," 13 Feb. 2019 But here’s the funny thing: Personal car ownership in the US has actually increased in the past 10 years, even in the frenzied urban places where Uber and car-share have become verbs. Wired, "The Death of Cars Was Greatly Exaggerated," 16 Oct. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for verb

Noun

Middle English verbe, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin verbum "word, verb" — more at word entry 1

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Time Traveler for verb

Time Traveler

The first known use of verb was in the 14th century

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Statistics for verb

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Verb.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/verb. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for verb

verb

noun
How to pronounce verb (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of verb

grammar : a word (such as jump, think, happen, or exist) that is usually one of the main parts of a sentence and that expresses an action, an occurrence, or a state of being

verb

noun
\ ˈvərb How to pronounce verb (audio) \

Kids Definition of verb

: a word that expresses an act, occurrence, or state of being

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More from Merriam-Webster on verb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with verb

Spanish Central: Translation of verb

Nglish: Translation of verb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about verb

Comments on verb

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experienced by way of someone else

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