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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for viva voce

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

Adjective 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

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Time Traveler for viva voce

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The first known use of viva voce was in 1563

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Cite this Entry

“Viva voce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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

viva voce

adverb or adjective
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

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