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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Synonyms & Antonyms for verbal

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of verbal in a Sentence

Adjective 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 Local officers, with the assistance of Olmsted Falls police, responded to a verbal argument outside a residence at 4:34 p.m. June 13. cleveland, "Car in ditch causes police to stop train: Olmsted Township Police Blotter," 19 June 2020 Bolton's lawyer says that after working for months with the White House to edit, rewrite or remove sensitive information, his client received a verbal clearance from a National Security Council expert. Editors, USA TODAY, "Juneteenth, ex-Atlanta cop in court, Trump vs. Bolton: 5 things to know Friday," 19 June 2020 It was amended after business employees and city officials received a deluge of verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. Megan Molteni, Wired, "What Minnesota’s Protests Are Revealing About Covid-19 Spread," 18 June 2020 Taylor hopes to add his name to the extensive list of Midland big leaders, but still has two more seasons with the Lancers and is a verbal commit to Indiana. Scott Springer,, "Midland offers a league of their own for displaced Greater Cincinnati baseball players," 18 June 2020 The two eventually had a heated verbal exchange at the gas station and when Chavez attempted multiple times to leave the man restrained him until police arrived. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Cudahy man stole a kid's bike to go to the store because he was tired of walking, police say," 17 June 2020 The verbal readings didn’t mention that Native American mothers had to provide informed consent to be tested or separated from their newborn, a clinician said. Bryant Furlow, ProPublica, "A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns," 13 June 2020 Make sure contracts contain any verbal promises in writing. Leah Napoliello, Houston Chronicle, "BBB on Homes: Do research when choosing the right remodeler," 13 June 2020 Since then, officers have faced off with protesters inside CHAZ who have used barricades and verbal protests to keep police out. Fox News, "Seattle councilwoman says police precinct should remain in community control permanently," 13 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lenny, now 14, and James, now 11, are non-verbal and significantly undersized for their age. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, "Kenneth Murray Jr. faced childhood challenges that made him a man on the field," 14 Apr. 2020 Yet just the other day, several players gave Kitchens a verbal thumbs up. cleveland, "Cleveland Browns’ Freddie Kitchens as bad Santa: Crowquill," 25 Dec. 2019 The campaign also continued to pushback on criticism that his verbal slip ups are cause for concern. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: How Biden got ready for fight night," 12 Sep. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for verbal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for verbal

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Verbal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for verbal


How to pronounce verbal (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for verbal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with verbal

Spanish Central: Translation of verbal

Nglish: Translation of verbal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of verbal for Arabic Speakers

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