verb

noun \ ˈvərb \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of verb

: 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

verbless

play \ˈvər-bləs\ adjective

Recent Examples of verb from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of verb

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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



VERB Defined for English Language Learners

verb

noun

Definition of verb for English Language Learners

  • 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 Defined for Kids

verb

noun \ ˈvərb \

Definition of verb for Students

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

Word Root of verb

The Latin word verbum, meaning “word,” gives us the root verb. Words from the Latin verbum have something to do with words. A verb is a word that shows action. An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb. A proverb, or short saying containing a wise thought, is made up of a few well-chosen words. Anything verbal is made up of spoken words.



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