\ ˈvərb How to pronounce verb (audio) \

Essential Meaning 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

Full 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

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 No reminder is needed that the same pithy verb covers the operation of a camera and a firearm. Guy Lodge, Variety, 6 Dec. 2021 Things get even more confusing when moot is used as a verb. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2021 That is until Zoom simplified the process to such a degree that its company name is now a verb for millions of users around the world. John Dillon, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 For millions of people, Slack is a verb, a utility, and a way of life. Declan Harty, Fortune, 13 Oct. 2021 Start each sentence with an action verb like directed, created, drove, headed, implemented, etc. Robin Ryan, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 The word ‘wrong’ can be an adjective, a noun and a verb. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 For millions of people, Slack is a verb, a utility, and a way of life. Declan Harty, Fortune, 13 Oct. 2021 The word first appeared as a noun in the 1980s and then started to be used as a verb in the early 21st century, according to the report. Jack Guy, CNN, 1 Nov. 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

19 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Verb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for verb


\ ˈvərb How to pronounce verb (audio) \

Kids Definition of verb

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

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


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