viva voce

vi·​va vo·​ce | \ ˌvī-və-ˈvō-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce viva voce (audio) or ˌvē-və-ˈvō-(ˌ)chā How to pronounce viva voce (audio) \

Definition of viva voce

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: by word of mouth : orally

viva voce


Definition of viva voce (Entry 2 of 3)

: expressed or conducted by means of speech : orally sense 1

viva voce


Definition of viva voce (Entry 3 of 3)

: an examination conducted viva voce

called also viva

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for viva voce

Synonyms: Adjective

nuncupative, oral, spoken, unwritten, verbal, word-of-mouth

Antonyms: Adjective

paper, written

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


Viva voce derives from Medieval Latin, where it translates literally as "with the living voice." In English it occurs in contexts, such as voting, in which something is done aloud for all to hear. Votes in Congress, for example, are done viva voce - members announce their votes by calling out "yea" or "nay." While the phrase was first used in English as an adverb in the 16th century, it can also appear as an adjective (as in "a viva voce examination") or a noun (where it refers to an examination conducted orally).

Examples of viva voce in a Sentence


the students are required to write two papers and take a viva voce examination

First Known Use of viva voce


1563, in the meaning defined above


1654, in the meaning defined above


1842, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for viva voce


Medieval Latin, with the living voice

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about viva voce

Listen to Our Podcast about viva voce

Statistics for viva voce

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for viva voce

The first known use of viva voce was in 1563

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for viva voce

viva voce


English Language Learners Definition of viva voce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: spoken rather than written

viva voce


English Language Learners Definition of viva voce (Entry 2 of 2)

British : an oral examination given at a British university
vi·​va vo·​ce | \ ˌvī-və-ˈvō-sē, ˌvē-və-ˈvō-ˌchā\

Legal Definition of viva voce

: through speech : by word of mouth testify viva voce

History and Etymology for viva voce

Medieval Latin, literally, by living voice

More from Merriam-Webster on viva voce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for viva voce

Comments on viva voce

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


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!