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 vocality (audio) \ noun
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē How to pronounce vocally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for vocal

Synonyms: Adjective

oral, spoken, uttered, voiced

Synonyms: Noun

ballad, ditty, jingle, lay, lyric, song

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of vocal in a Sentence


music with vocal and instrumental parts She is a vocal critic of the new law. He was very vocal in his criticism of me.


a recording artist who arranges his own vocals
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But a quick look back through her music video oeuvre serves as a reminder that for all of her silky vocal talent, Jackson is first and foremost a dancer that will never stop moving. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Janet Jackson! How to Get Her Rock-Hard Body in 12 GIFS," 16 May 2019 The Duchess of Sussex is known to be a vocal feminist and supporter of women's rights, but she's pointed out that her husband is, too. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Is "So Incredibly Proud" of Meghan Markle After She Gives Birth to Their Royal Baby," 6 May 2019 That development has been in the works since before Hogan took office and has moved ahead despite some vocal opponents, many of whom criticized a $23 million tax-increment-financing subsidy. Luke Broadwater, baltimoresun.com, "As governor, Larry Hogan's real estate business continues to thrive — prompting questions," 13 July 2018 Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News As Sinclair has grown from a handful of stations to a juggernaut over the past three decades, the company has become more vocal on political issues. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Sinclair Broadcast, Known for Rightward Tilt, Hires Liberal Commentator," 23 Jan. 2019 The group now united under the hashtag #MuteRKelly was vocal, campaigning to have R. Kelly’s concerts cancelled and his songs removed from radio. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "R. Kelly Docuseries Reminds Us That Not All Stories of Sexual Assault Are Treated Equally," 11 Jan. 2019 The group at times became vocal and confrontational in efforts to challenge Straus and others. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Is the Texas House conservative enough? This lawmaker spent $300K to push it right," 1 June 2018 The British actor became especially vocal about the dangers of seeing heavily airbrushed and Photoshopped images on social media earlier this year. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Jameela Jamil Requested That She Not Be Airbrushed for a Magazine Cover Shoot," 1 June 2018 As with those previous shows, Our Planet will feature the star power of David Attenborough, a legendary documentary broadcaster and vocal environmentalist. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "David Attenborough's Our Planet: What We Know About the New Netflix Show," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The vocals are startlingly clean and clear, yet no less expressive for dropping some of the familiar shaggy embroidery. Barry Mazor, WSJ, "‘What It Is’ by Hayes Carll Review: A New Direction, Yet Again," 12 Feb. 2019 And anyone who's seen the movie will agree that Lady Gaga's vocals are consistently superb throughout. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper's Working Relationship," 9 Feb. 2019 To transform it into a pop song, Southern made a lot of creative decisions, including switching instruments, changing the key, and, of course, writing and performing the vocals. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "How AI-generated music is changing the way hits are made," 31 Aug. 2018 The Coup has songs where the vocals don't start until a minute and 30 seconds in. Max Cea, Billboard, "'Sorry to Bother You' Director Boots Riley on Working With Tune-Yards and Breaking the Rules of Soundtracks," 13 July 2018 His initial approach to a beat is melodic and rhythmic, finding a cadence that suits his voice, an energy level at which the vocals will be delivered, and maybe a rhyme scheme. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Into the Wild With Kanye West," 25 June 2018 Marked by strong vocals, their songs speak of love and desire and the search for home. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Jason Eady is a happy man, and one of country music’s unheralded talents," 11 July 2018 But in the end, the Counterpoints took home the top prize, along with wins for best vocals, best visuals and best male soloist. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "North Central High School wins Show Choir Nationals at the Grand Ole Opry," 28 Mar. 2018 Attachment parenting, which starts from birth, and free-range parenting, for older kids, each have vocal, devoted followers, even though their approaches may seem at first to be opposite. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Five Types of Parenting Styles, Explained — And How They Affect Kids, According to Experts," 1 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for vocal

Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for vocal

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

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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 vocality (audio) \ noun, plural vocalities
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē How to pronounce vocally (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on vocal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vocal

Spanish Central: Translation of vocal

Nglish: Translation of vocal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vocal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vocal

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using a distributed computer network

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