vo·​cal | \ ˈvō-kəl \

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 \ noun
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē \ 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

For her part, the mom of three has since become a vocal advocate against the ongoing opioid crisis. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Demi Lovato's Mom Opened Up About Her Daughter's Overdose," 19 Sep. 2018 There were only a handful of live vocal performances on Soul Train during its entire 35-year run, with artists for whom lip-syncing to track would have been not just off brand but insulting. Naima Cochrane, Vox, "Aretha Franklin’s long reign as the Queen of Soul, explained in 12 performances," 16 Aug. 2018 Kevin Harvick is among the most vocal advocates for NASCAR playing around with its schedule and traveling to different race tracks every year. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Why Kevin Harvick wants NASCAR to add races in Canada and Mexico," 26 June 2018 Initially overcome with grief, April Schentrup gradually has emerged as a vocal advocate for school safety and stricter gun laws. Megan O'matz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Mother of slain Stoneman Douglas student to get school district security post," 22 June 2018 In the United States, Dith continued to speak out about the Cambodian genocide, becoming a vocal advocate for human rights. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "5 Refugees Who Changed Modern American History," 20 June 2018 With the Lazio soccer club, Ms. Cortani was a vocal advocate for her players, and, at times, Mr. Tavecchio. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Are You Too Old to Have Been Sexually Harassed? In Italy, Maybe," 14 June 2018 Bourdain also became a vocal advocate for Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who was imprisoned by Iranian officials for 544 days. Abby Ohlheiser, Anchorage Daily News, "Anthony Bourdain, chef and TV host, dies at 61 in apparent suicide," 8 June 2018 If a Hollywood icon with the vocal support of stars like Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista couldn’t escape the wrath of Twitter, what hope did an ordinary person have? Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "The year of deleted tweets," 27 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Playing the blues with style and power are: King Robinson-vocals and harp; Mike Landers-guitar; Bruce Williams-guitar and vocals; Eric VanDuyne-guitar; Marty Willis-bass; and Chris Buck-drums. Lake County News-Sun, "Calendar," 26 Mar. 2018 Costanzo asked Condo to do his portrait for the album cover, and the friends then decided that Condo would also paint onstage as a visual accompaniment to Costanzo’s vocals. Laura Van Straaten, WSJ, "Is It Possible to Reinvent Opera? This Group Is Trying," 20 Sep. 2018 At the International Mini Miss pageant in Las Vegas, Darci won the competition for her age group thanks to her stellar vocals. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Winner Darci Lynne Farmer Almost Didn't Become a Ventriloquist," 15 Aug. 2018 The new version, released last month, balances Nicks' soft croon to Rimes' striking vocals. Fox News, "Stevie Nicks and LeAnn Rimes share heartbreak in 'Borrowed' duet," 16 July 2018 During the performance, Cowell’s eyebrows raised in amazement and Mel B was seen grooving to his vocals. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Glee Alum Noah Guthrie Auditions for America's Got Talent — and Stuns Judge Simon Cowell," 13 June 2018 And just as striking as their soaring vocals were their coordinated black PVC trench coats and glossy crops. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera's Powerful Duet—and Twinning Hair Look—Just Shut Down the Billboard Music Awards," 21 May 2018 Her smooth contralto vocals were as amazing as ever. Kevinisha Walker, NOLA.com, "Anita Baker 'gives the best she's got' at Jazz Fest 2018," 6 May 2018 In addition to force-of-nature vocals, Welch showcased dramatic dance moves and occasional percussion accents. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Lindquist: 20 unforgettable nights across 20 years of writing about Indianapolis concerts," 4 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1582, 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

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for vocal

The first known use of vocal was in the 14th 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 \

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 \

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 \ noun, plural -ties
vocally \ ˈvō-​kə-​lē \ 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

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esteemed in general opinion

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