ver·bal | \ˈvər-bəl \

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 \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for verbal

Synonyms: Adjective

nuncupative, oral, spoken, unwritten, viva voce, word-of-mouth

Antonyms: Adjective

paper, written

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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

Kline, who plays travel ball for Wagners Allender along with Chesapeake-AA standout Haley Downin and fills in for the 18U Green Hornets A team, has made a verbal commitment to play softball on scholarship at Maryland beginning in the fall of 2019. C.j. Doon,, "2018 All-Metro softball Player of the Year: Campbell Kline, Severna Park," 7 July 2018 Jordan spurned the Mavericks during the free-agency period in 2015 after giving the team a verbal commitment to join Dallas on a four-year deal. Broderick Turner,, "Clippers await DeAndre Jordan's decision while Mavericks consider trade proposal," 29 June 2018 That abuse can come in many forms: angry tweets, verbal confrontations, groping. Christina Caron, New York Times, "‘Never Do This to a Woman’: Men Harass 2 Sports Reporters at the World Cup," 27 June 2018 Brown said the organization will be ready to pounce when verbal commitments can be announced at one minute after midnight on July 1. Bob Ford,, "Sixers put their chips on the gamble of trades and free agency | Bob Ford," 25 June 2018 Here’s what Trump is actually doing to take on MS-13, beyond verbal attacks. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Despite Hyper-Aggressive Rhetoric, Trump’s MS-13 Strategy Isn’t Very Comprehensive," 3 July 2018 In addition to the anti-Israel resolutions, this year's General Assembly featured a verbal attack on Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human-rights activist who came out to condemn the one-sided resolutions being considered against the Jewish state. Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Presbyterian Church continues trend of targeting Israel at its General Assembly," 26 June 2018 Another reason for Europe’s resurgence could be a string of verbal attacks against Europe coming out of the White House. Washington Post,, "The EU sees its approval ratings rise just as it gets tough with Trump," 23 May 2018 Less serious disciplinary measures, including written or verbal reprimands, will stay in the officer's file for one year instead of six months. Adam Ferrise,, "Cleveland agrees to three-year contract with police union after two years of negotiations," 14 May 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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Phrases Related to verbal

verbal abuse

Statistics for verbal

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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 \

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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Comments on verbal

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


lying above or upon

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