verbiage

noun

ver·​biage ˈvər-bē-ij How to pronounce verbiage (audio)
also
-bij How to pronounce verbiage (audio)
1
: a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content
such a tangled maze of evasive verbiage as a typical party platformMarcia Davenport
2
: manner of expressing oneself in words : diction
sportswriters guarded their verbiage so jealouslyR. A. Sokolov

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Verbiage descends from French verbier, meaning "to trill" or "to warble." The usual sense of the word implies an overabundance of possibly unnecessary words, much like the word wordiness. In other words, a writer with a fondness for verbiage might be accused of "wordiness." Some people think the phrase "excess verbiage" is redundant, but that's not necessarily true. Verbiage has a second sense meaning, simply, "wording," with no suggestion of excess. This second definition has sometimes been treated as an error by people who insist that verbiage must always imply excessiveness, but that sense is well-established and can be considered standard.

Examples of verbiage in a Sentence

NOT the least of the many trials inflicted upon the Boston Red Sox has been a torrent of verbiage. Surely no team in recent memory has been so scrutinized, complained about and then elegized. Charles McGrath, New York Times Book Review, 13 Aug. 2006
Fashionable courtiers in the Renaissance adopted the doublet.  … The cotton padding of this jacket, called bombast (the source of the term for inflated verbiage), was gradually increased to give courtiers the pumped-up look. John Tierney, New York Times, 21 Jan. 1999
To find the height of arcane verbiage look no farther than Rule 10 of the rules governing Major League Baseball, in what is known as the Blue Book. The corresponding entry explains the waivers system—the procedures that pertain to certain player transactions—in a way that makes the Magna Carta look like part of the Jackie Collins oeuvre. Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 25 Aug. 1997
Sure, some contract verbiage is so objectionable, it can be considered against public policy; in fact, the most arduous hold-harmless clauses would probably be thrown out of court. Leon H. Ciesla, Plane & Pilot, March 1995
Is word processing truly the wonder it seems or will it turn out to be but a mere exercise in verbose verbiage? Erik Sandberg-Diment, New York Times, 26 June 1984
The editor removed some of the excess verbiage from the article. teachers loathe the verbiage that students resort to in order to pad a paper
Recent Examples on the Web Given the above verbiage, along with far more besides but entirely of a piece, there will also be no way to spin it otherwise. The Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 8 July 2024 Setting aside the self-serving verbiage, there are two salient features of the $297.9 billion budget that Californians should keep in mind — the first being that the budget crisis was self-inflicted. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 27 June 2024 During an interview last year, Trump denied knowing his sentiments echoed verbiage used by German dictator Adolf Hitler leading up to the Holocaust. Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News, 24 June 2024 And just as Rolex has its own verbiage and signifiers known only to devotees, so too does Augusta National. Farhad Heydari, theweek, 12 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for verbiage 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'verbiage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from French, from verbier "to trill, warble" (going back to Middle French verboier "to twitter," altered from Middle French dialect (Picard) verbloier, guerbloier, derivative of werbler "to sing expressively, trill") + -age -age — more at warble entry 1

Note: The meaning of French verbiage clearly shows the associative influence of verbe "word, verb" and its derivatives.

First Known Use

circa 1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of verbiage was circa 1721

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Dictionary Entries Near verbiage

Cite this Entry

“Verbiage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/verbiage. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

verbiage

noun
ver·​bi·​age
ˈvər-bē-ij
: many words and especially many hard words used to say very little
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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