vo·​cal | \ ˈvō-kəl How to pronounce vocal (audio) \

Definition of vocal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : uttered by the voice : oral
b : produced in the larynx : uttered with voice
2a : given to expressing oneself freely or insistently : outspoken a highly vocal critic
b : having or exercising the power of producing voice, speech, or sound
d : full of voices : resounding
e : expressed in words
3 : relating to, composed or arranged for, or sung by the human voice vocal music
4 : of, relating to, or resembling the voice vocal impairment
5 : vocalic



Definition of vocal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a vocal sound
2 : a usually accompanied musical composition for the human voice : song also : a performance of such a composition

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Other Words from vocal


vocality \ vō-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce vocal (audio) \ noun
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē How to pronounce vocal (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for vocal

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of vocal in a Sentence

Adjective music with vocal and instrumental parts She is a vocal critic of the new law. He was very vocal in his criticism of me. Noun a recording artist who arranges his own vocals
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Wiley wondered aloud why James hasn’t been more vocal about black people who are killed by other black people. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Marcellus Wiley slams LeBron James over deleted tweet about Columbus police officer: 'You can't be that irresponsible'," 23 Apr. 2021 Liberal activists have been vocal in their call for Breyer to retire while Democrats control the White House and the Senate. Washington Post, "Senate committee to take up Biden judicial nominees in preview of potential Supreme Court fight," 23 Apr. 2021 Companies were also vocal during former President Donald Trump’s presidency over such matters as his travel ban from Muslim-majority countries and his comments following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Conversation, "Why corporate America appears to be drifting away from the Republican Party," 22 Apr. 2021 Burton has been vocal about wanting to be a guest host of the quiz show. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "LeVar Burton lands guest host gig on 'Jeopardy!' after more than 246,000 fans sign online petition," 21 Apr. 2021 Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already been vocal in his anger about the project and reiterated that opposition in an emergency meeting with representatives of the Premier League on Tuesday morning. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The U.S. Sports Origins of Europe’s Soccer Super League," 20 Apr. 2021 That will be welcome news to John Fetterman, the six-foot-eight, tattooed Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania who is running for Senate in 2022, and has long been vocal about pro-legalization. Will Yakowicz, Forbes, "Welcome To The Last Illegal 420," 20 Apr. 2021 Church has been particularly vocal about music fans receiving their shots. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, "See Eric Church, Darius Rucker, Ashley McBryde Talk Covid Vaccines in New Ad," 19 Apr. 2021 McCoughtry has been vocal about women receiving fair and equitable treatment in sports. Kyle J. Andrews, baltimoresun.com, "With new venture, Baltimore’s Angel McCoughtry seeks to empower women in sports: ‘We’re trying to get our story out’," 19 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Green recorded the vocal in his mother’s attic sometime in the mid-Sixties; the more familiar recording of the track came out on Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 LP, The Pious Bird of Good Omen. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, "Hear David Gilmour, Peter Green Play Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Need Your Love So Bad’," 28 Apr. 2021 Put simply, this hot-to-trot vocal Stallion is an undeniable force of nature and the Grammy should be hers. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Grammy Awards 2021: Who should win, who was snubbed, and more, as we preview ‘Music’s Biggest Night’," 12 Mar. 2021 The seven-member vocal outfit’s Be appears in the runner-up rung with 2.7 million copies sold. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, "BTS Scored The Bestselling Album In The World In 2020 By More Than Two Million Copies," 11 Mar. 2021 In reality, a majority of faculty members — and specifically the most vocal of her detractors — were not campaigning to get rid of her. New York Times, "Why Did the Dean of the Most Diverse Law School in the Country Cancel Herself?," 26 Mar. 2021 Gottmik breaks out her Paris Hilton vocal fry for one last hurrah and uses it to serve a thoroughly entertaining performance in this lengthy acting skit. Paul Mccallion, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Growers and Showers," 2 Apr. 2021 Her choir teacher at Harlandale High School encouraged her to apply for a University of the Incarnate Word vocal scholarship. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Burgundy Woods is on the rise as home-grown fashionista, style influencer and champion of unsung fashion heroes," 29 Mar. 2021 Always generous, Minneapolis vocal stylist Debbie Duncan believed in supporting her fellow musicians. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, "Debbie Duncan Legacy Fund gives microgrants to needy Minnesota musicians," 23 Mar. 2021 During a videoconference with EU leaders last week, Mr. Draghi was among the most vocal in pushing for the EU to consider tightening its export-review system, including potentially blocking exports of vaccine ingredients. Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "EU and Italy Block Export of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine to Australia," 4 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vocal.' 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 vocal


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vocal


Middle English, from Latin vocalis, from voc-, vox voice — more at voice

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Time Traveler for vocal

Time Traveler

The first known use of vocal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for vocal

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vocal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vocal. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for vocal



English Language Learners Definition of vocal

: of, relating to, or produced by the voice
: expressing opinions in a public and forceful way


vo·​cal | \ ˈvō-kəl How to pronounce vocal (audio) \

Kids Definition of vocal

1 : uttered by the voice : oral vocal communication
2 : composed or arranged for or sung by the human voice the vocal parts of a song
3 : speaking freely or loudly : outspoken a vocal critic
4 : relating to or involved in producing the voice the vocal organs

Other Words from vocal

vocally adverb


vo·​cal | \ ˈvō-kəl How to pronounce vocal (audio) \

Medical Definition of vocal

1 : uttered by the voice : oral
2 : having or exercising the power of producing voice, speech, or sound
3 : of, relating to, or resembling the voice vocal dysfunction due to throat infection

Other Words from vocal

vocality \ vō-​ˈkal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce vocal (audio) \ noun, plural vocalities
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē How to pronounce vocal (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on vocal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vocal

Nglish: Translation of vocal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vocal for Arabic Speakers

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