ver·​bose (ˌ)vər-ˈbōs How to pronounce verbose (audio)
: containing more words than necessary : wordy
a verbose reply
also : impaired by wordiness
a verbose style
: given to wordiness
a verbose orator
verbosely adverb
verboseness noun

Did you know?

There's no shortage of words to describe wordiness in English. Diffuse, long-winded, prolix, redundant, windy, repetitive, rambling, and circumlocutory are some that come to mind. Want to express the opposite idea? Try succinct, concise, brief, short, summary, terse, compact, or compendious. Verbose, which falls solidly into the first camp of words, comes from Latin verbosus, from verbum, meaning "word." Other descendants of verbum include verb, adverb, proverb, verbal, and verbicide (that's the deliberate distortion of the sense of a word).

Choose the Right Synonym for verbose

wordy, verbose, prolix, diffuse mean using more words than necessary to express thought.

wordy may also imply loquaciousness or garrulity.

a wordy speech

verbose suggests a resulting dullness, obscurity, or lack of incisiveness or precision.

the verbose position papers

prolix suggests unreasonable and tedious dwelling on details.

habitually transformed brief anecdotes into prolix sagas

diffuse stresses lack of compactness and pointedness of style.

diffuse memoirs that are so many shaggy-dog stories

Examples of verbose in a Sentence

Something seems to have gone seriously wrong with the subediting and proof-reading of this self-indulgently verbose and misprint-ridden production, which is further flawed by a mis-match between the author's vaulting theoretical ambitions and his scholarly limitations, notably his faulty grasp of ancient Greek and inability to deliver a clear and consistent line of reasoned and logical argument. Paul Cartledge, Times Literary Supplement, 8 Mar. 1991
What makes this tiny tome so much fun are the answers. There are occasional one-word zingers: to a verbose question as to whether a resident of a planet with two suns would have two shadows, Merlin's response is "Yes." The longest answers are about a page in length and seem to be triggered when a questioner happens upon one of the author's favorite topics or pet peeves, such as relativity, tachyons, and the endangered ozone layer. James H. Sharp, Air & Space Smithsonian, February/March 1990
I must confess … that if I had known how many classics there are in English literature, and how verbose the best of them contrive to be, I should never have undertaken the work. They only allow one seventy thousand words, you see. Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, 1915
He is a verbose speaker. She has a verbose writing style.
Recent Examples on the Web The lawmaker said that the usable speech only came after four or five prompts that generated unusable material, either too verbose or oddly phrased, an illustration of how important the input into the AI is to the result. Globe Staff,, 25 Jan. 2023 The verbose coach was at somewhat of a loss for words, opting to forgo opening remarks in his postgame press conference and instead diving right into questions. Tom Green |, al, 18 Jan. 2023 So, Soul gravitated to the most verbose, formalist, showily technical music available to him. Paul Thompson, Rolling Stone, 12 Dec. 2022 Their conversations — facetious, verbose, skittish — propel the narrative, reveal their personalities and betray their intentions. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Oct. 2022 Truss is far less colorful, less verbose than her former backslapping boss — perhaps in a good way. William Booth, Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2022 Laurie Woolery, who has helmed the premieres of several new plays at another New Haven theater, the Yale Rep, in New Haven, has a knack for packing action and needed distraction into scenes that might otherwise be tiringly verbose. Christopher Arnott,, 19 Mar. 2022 Nate wasn’t very verbose about what had gone on in the foyer. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 28 Feb. 2022 This is a great tool to use so that more verbose and talkative members of the classroom don’t dominate the conversations. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021

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

Word History


borrowed from Latin verbōsus, from verbum "word, verb entry 1" + -ōsus -ose entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of verbose was circa 1531


Dictionary Entries Near verbose

Cite this Entry

“Verbose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ver·​bose (ˌ)vər-ˈbōs How to pronounce verbose (audio)
: using more words than are needed
a verbose reply
verbosely adverb
verboseness noun
verbosity noun

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