ver·​bal | \ ˈvər-bəl How to pronounce verbal (audio) \

Definition of verbal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or consisting of words verbal instructions
b : of, relating to, or involving words rather than meaning or substance a consistency that is merely verbal and scholastic— B. N. Cardozo
c : consisting of or using words only and not involving action verbal abuse
2 : of, relating to, or formed from a verb a verbal adjective
3 : spoken rather than written a verbal contract
4 : verbatim, word-for-word a verbal translation
5 : of or relating to facility in the use and comprehension of words verbal aptitude



Definition of verbal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word that combines characteristics of a verb with those of a noun or adjective — compare gerund, infinitive, participle

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Other Words from verbal


verbally \ ˈvər-​bə-​lē How to pronounce verbally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for verbal

Synonyms: Adjective

lexical, linguistic (also linguistical), rhetorical (also rhetoric), vocabular, wordy

Antonyms: Adjective

nonlexical, nonlinguistic, nonverbal

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Examples of verbal in a Sentence


He scored well on the verbal section of the test. They had a verbal exchange. a verbal agreement to finish the work We gave only verbal instructions.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Two officers searching a shed behind a house encountered Maynard, who failed to comply with verbal commands, Ayers said. Fox News, "Chief: Officer kills man accused of killing Georgia officer," 23 Oct. 2018 The Huskies already have one 2020 verbal commit, in three-star Idaho offensive lineman Gaard Memmelaar. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Garfield five-star linebacker Sav’ell Smalls includes UW, WSU in top 12," 11 Feb. 2019 Every exercise begins with a verbal explanation followed by a visual demonstration. Chuck Tannert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle and Get Your Motorcycle License," 7 Feb. 2019 The Gastonia Police Department said Maddox Ritch, who has non-verbal autism, was last seen Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rankin Lake Park, located about 20 miles west of Charlotte. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "FBI joins search for missing 6-year-old boy with autism in North Carolina," 24 Sep. 2018 That’s consistent with Torvalds’ communication style, which — according to his critics — created an environment where vicious personal attacks and verbal abuse were justified as honest feedback. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "With Linux’s founder stepping back, will the community change its culture?," 21 Sep. 2018 In business, women have long paid a price for objecting to verbal abuse from male bosses and colleagues. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "For Female Political Candidates, Sometimes the Biggest Threat Isn’t Losing an Election," 17 Sep. 2018 Police were called to the residence in December after a verbal dispute was reported, Chief Shea said. Gerald Porter Jr. And Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD: Triple-Murder Suicide Motivated by Custody Battle," 31 July 2018 The fight reportedly went down around 11:25 p.m. Thursday following a verbal dispute between two men, one of whom was wearing a Trump jersey. Chris Perez, Fox News, "Brawl breaks out at Trump's new Walk of Fame star," 27 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All was one in a wave of recruits committing to Michigan this weekend as the Wolverines picked up four verbals from four different states on Sunday. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Recruiting Trail: Briggs, All highlight 8-commitment weekend," 25 June 2018 Colerain linebacker Luke Bolden announced his verbal commitment to the RedHawks on the final day of May. Bolden's commitment gives Miami 17 verbals so far for the '19 cycle, including four locals. John Snodgrass,, "Recruiting Trail: Colerain's Luke Bolden headed to Miami," 4 June 2018 Both of them backed off their verbals, and eventual Indiana pledge Romeo Langford cut Louisville from his list of schools. Chris Johnson,, "Winners and Losers of College Basketball's 2018 Recruiting Cycle," 2 May 2018 Former West Linn and Beaverton standout Nolan Bertain recently made a verbal committed to sign a men's basketball letter of intent at Alabama-Birmingham. Nick Daschel,, "West Linn grad Nolan Bertain verbally commits to Alabama-Birmingham men's basketball," 24 Apr. 2018 Early in the morning, the Ducks signed four-star verbal commits Jalen Hall and Isaah Crocker. Andrew Nemec,, "Devon Williams, nation's No. 16 prospect, commits to USC Trojans over Oregon Ducks on ESPN," 7 Feb. 2018 Another former Tennessee verbal who may be up for a reunion with the Volunteers before signing his NLI is Knoxville Catholic High product Cade Mays, the No. Chris Johnson,, "How the Coaching Carousel's Key Moves Might Affect Recruiting's Early Signing Period," 12 Dec. 2017 Minnesota did not land a commit in August, but after securing 23 verbals already, the Gophers are likely in no rush to simply add bodies to their 2018 class. Ryan Connors, ajc, "Minnesota recruiting: Latest updates on Gophers’ 2018 class," 8 Sep. 2017 The six San Diego-area players with verbals this year is one more than the number included in both SDSU’s 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes. Kirk Kenney,, "Carlsbad's Cameron Thomas latest addition in Aztecs' 2018 recruiting class loaded with locals," 30 June 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for verbal


Middle English verbale, borrowed from Late Latin verbālis, from Latin verbum "word, verb entry 1" + -ālis -al entry 1


borrowed from New Latin verbālis, noun derivative of Late Latin verbālis verbal entry 1

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Statistics for verbal

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for verbal

The first known use of verbal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for verbal



English Language Learners Definition of verbal

: relating to or consisting of words
: spoken rather than written
: relating to or formed from a verb


ver·​bal | \ ˈvər-bəl How to pronounce verbal (audio) \

Kids Definition of verbal

1 : of, relating to, or consisting of words verbal communication
2 : spoken rather than written verbal testimony
3 : of, relating to, or formed from a verb a verbal adjective

Other Words from verbal

verbally adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on verbal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with verbal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for verbal

Spanish Central: Translation of verbal

Nglish: Translation of verbal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verbal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on verbal

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a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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