\ 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


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


verbless \ ˈvərb-​ləs How to pronounce verb (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 Flimflam felt better in the mouth than swindle, and rubberneck was a more agreeable verb than crane. Ralph Keyes, Time, "From ‘Scientist’ to ‘Spam,’ the Surprisingly Playful Origins of English Words," 1 Apr. 2021 The second is is the verb for the pronoun who, whose antecedent in this sentence is people. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Which one is correct: ‘an historic’ or ‘a historic’?," 20 Mar. 2021 The prompt led Cuomo to unleash a string of profanity and use Rick Moranis — as in, the actor who was randomly attacked in New York City last year — as a verb. Washington Post, "SNL lampoons Ted Cruz in a sketch featuring Chloe Fineman as Britney Spears," 21 Feb. 2021 To him, the ubiquitous paradigms of noun-endings (declensions) and verb-endings (conjugations) possessed all the crystalline beauty of a Bach fugue. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Reginald Foster, Vatican Latinist Who Tweeted in the Language, Dies at 81," 27 Dec. 2020 Originally, the verb to learn was looked at from these two different perspectives as well. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Learning to live with ‘learnings’," 11 Feb. 2021 Shriveled, as in the verb that too often described the Mavericks late-game execution, and body language, last season. Dallas News, "Luka Doncic’s big night buoys Mavs to big divisional win despite Spurs’ clutch time run," 23 Jan. 2021 The question, particularly that verb, predict, irritates all the greats. Jason Kehe, Wired, "2021 and the Conspiracies of Johnny Mnemonic," 11 Jan. 2021 Zoom turned into a noun, instead of a verb, with people using the online meeting-platform for work, school and other gatherings. San Diego Union-Tribune, "With 2020 hindsight, there was nothing perfect about this year," 26 Dec. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for verb


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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Verb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for verb



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


\ 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

Nglish: Translation of verb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verb for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about verb

Comments on verb

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