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

The former hedge-fund manager has been one of the nation’s most vocal in calling for impeachment proceedings to begin against Mr. Trump, and his entry promises to boost the prominence of that topic in the Democratic race. John Mccormick, WSJ, "Billionaire Tom Steyer Says He Is Running for President," 9 July 2019 But conservative legal figures - including Leonard Leo, head of the Federalist Society - have been especially vocal in urging Trump not to stop fighting for the citizenship question, according to advisers close to Trump. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration scrambles to save citizenship question on census," 5 July 2019 Retailers, many already struggling because of online competition, have been especially vocal in criticizing current trade policy, and more stores could close. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Could a trade war trigger the next recession, and how would that impact Colorado?," 9 June 2019 Fatima Maada Bio, the wife of Sierra Leone's president, has been vocal in promoting the rights of girls and initially heard about the child's case. Fox News, "5-year-old girl paralyzed by rape shocks Sierra Leone," 8 June 2019 As a result, the fanbase have been vocal in their pleas for president Florentino Perez to sell the 29-year-old at the next available opportunity. SI.com, "Report: Gareth Bale Tells Real Madrid Board He Won't Be Forced Out," 8 June 2019 No player has been more outwardly vocal in recruiting fellow, well, recruits than Jackson-Davis, since his commitment last year. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU-bound Trayce Jackson-Davis trumpets Hoosiers on the All-Star trail," 6 June 2019 Lance Haver, policy director of Pennsylvania Save Our Safety Net Coalition, a group advocating for government social services, has been vocal in his concerns about the people excluded by cashless government offices, particularly in regards to SEPTA. Christian Hetrick, https://www.inquirer.com, "These government offices in Philly won’t take cash, disregarding the city’s cashless ban," 6 June 2019 Kik has been unusually vocal in its dispute with the SEC. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "This Case Could Change How the SEC Regulates Cryptocurrencies," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Musically, Favreau’s film learned a few lessons from Taymor’s stage version, at least; there’s a lot less white bread in the orchestrations and in the vocals. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Lion King’ review: I cannot feel the love tonight," 10 July 2019 The orchestra will be joined for the Sunday performance by a full rock band and Las Vegas performer Brody Dolyniuk, who re-creates the vocals of Queen front man Freddie Mercury. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "The weekend: Art fairs in Plymouth, Wyandotte; Italian, Polish fests in Sterling Heights," 10 July 2019 On the same album, there are a couple of tracks with chants where the vocals just claw at my soul. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Fender Ten 5 review: all about that treble," 9 July 2019 Lucius: Never miss the opportunity to catch the incredible vocals and harmonies of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Who is a must-see at this year's Forecastle? These Louisville music experts weigh in," 3 July 2019 Lopez has been performing the song throughout Texas and ably handled the commanding vocals. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Jennifer Lopez brings the ‘Party’ to Houston," 26 June 2019 Very Southside-Johnny sounding, from the horns down to the vocals. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: I don't like the NFL Draft. Here's why the MLB Draft is even worse.," 4 June 2019 Besides the vocals sounding nearly identical, the evidence overwhelmingly points to the musician. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "T-Pain Is the Monster on 'The Masked Singer' and Any Other Theory Is Wrong," 27 Feb. 2019 Unfortunately, most of Carly Pearce’s 25-minute opening set featured an overly bass-heavy sound mix, burying much of the Kentucky native’s vocals. Erik Ernst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest 2019: Jason Aldean hits the country-rock sweet spot in energetic show," 28 June 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

15 Jul 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

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


to complain fretfully

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