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

Upon arrival at approximately 1857 hours, Officers made contact with the victim who stated his father/suspect struck him over the left eye after a verbal argument while riding in the suspect’s truck. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 8 July 2019 The Cincinnati Bearcats' football coaching staff landed a Fourth of July verbal pledge from a class of 2020 recruit on Thursday. Fletcher Page,, "UC football lands pledge from Ohio ATH Tyler Scott," 4 July 2019 Police have arrested a Baltimore man for allegedly stabbing a Bel Air resident after a verbal confrontation on a middle school basketball court Sunday. Aegis Staff Report,, "Bel Air Police make arrest in basketball court stabbing," 27 June 2019 The scene had the feel of a street party, with only a few tense moments involving two men with guns and some verbal confrontations with anti-Trump protesters who walked by. Michael Williams,, "Outside the Trump in Orlando rally, fans revel in a festival of music, food and politics," 18 June 2019 The prolonged period of uncertainty has intensified political divisions over Brexit and led to some verbal confrontations in London. Lorne Cook, The Seattle Times, "UK Parliament moves to make ‘no-deal’ Brexit more difficult," 8 Jan. 2019 Now, front-line officers routinely face verbal abuse and profanity at protests, an unusual phenomenon for members of a body that had long been highly respected. New York Times, "Hong Kong Police, Once Called ‘Asia’s Finest,’ Are Now a Focus of Anger," 24 June 2019 The 6-foot-3, 267-pound Roberts had originally committed to the Hurricanes last June, but backed off his verbal pledge in October as the Hurricanes slogged their way through what would eventually be a three-game losing streak. Christy Cabrera Chirinos,, "Hurricanes get commitment from four-star defensive end Elijah Roberts on first night of Paradise Camp," 22 June 2019 Both possessed verbal virtuosity and both were perhaps fatally undiplomatic, Miranda told the magazine. 15. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Here comes 'Hamilton': What you need know about the musical coming to Baltimore that took over the world," 21 June 2019

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

11 Jul 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

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


something desired as essential

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