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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from verb

Noun

verbless \ ˈvərb-​ləs 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 It’s been 20 years since the Oscar-winning movie about her legal fight against Pacific Gas and Electric for illegally dumping toxic chemicals in Hinkley, California, turned her name into a verb. Wanjiku Gatheru, Glamour, "Erin Brockovich Knows We Have to Save Ourselves," 22 Sep. 2020 Perhaps the biggest pandemic winner is Zoom Video Communications, which scored the rare success of turning its name into a verb. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Where Danger Lurks in the Big Tech Rally," 6 Sep. 2020 What haunted me, then and for many years, was the active verb in that sentence. Trina Ryan, New York Times, "Changing My Name Allowed Me to Move On," 26 Aug. 2020 The first character is the verb to make, the second is to turn over. Victor Wei Ke Yang, Longreads, "Leadership Academy," 10 Aug. 2020 If the news is a verb, its movements, now more than ever, can feel frenzied and relentless. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The National Emergency at Your Doorstep," 11 July 2020 Zoom is our new verb, creeping into our collective vocabulary just as the coronavirus did a few months back. Beth Thames | Bethmthames@gmail.com, al, "Do you Zoom? Why yes, I do," 8 July 2020 In its verb form, to be humbugged is to be deceived or be the victim of a hoax. Elizabeth Wolfe And Douglas S. Wood, CNN, "Humbug! Where does that word come from anyway?," 21 Dec. 2019 Cooking to the tune of a recipe has forced me to focus more on the immediate and the minute—peeling each carota and memorizing each new verb—and less on the end result. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, "There’s No Better Time To... Cook in a Foreign Language," 14 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about verb

Time Traveler for verb

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for verb

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Verb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/verb. Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on 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

What made you want to look up verb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!