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



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

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 In addition to civil rights activists, political leaders and public health officials have recently been vocal about the dangers of kettling during George Floyd protests. Tyler J. Davis, USA TODAY, "What is 'kettling?' Here's a look into the usage and history of the controversial police tactic," 24 June 2020 That is clear in the Bay Area, where some of the activists who have protested around racial issues lately are also highly vocal about climate change. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "Climate activism, racial justice intersect in Bay Area protests," 24 June 2020 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been extremely vocal about her disappointment in Donald Trump during his time in the White House. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Pelosi Says Trump Rally Could Have Been A Zoom Meeting Based On Crowd Size," 23 June 2020 Ben & Jerry’s is known for being vocal about its support of social issues including criminal-justice reform, and backed the Black Lives Matter movement before the current unrest. Katie Deighton, WSJ, "Ben & Jerry’s Says a Facebook Ad Boycott Wouldn’t Be Enough," 22 June 2020 While some disability rights activists have been vocal about envisioning a full transition to community care, aging rights advocates are often more hesitant to write off the nursing home model entirely. Michael Schulson/undark, Popular Science, "The pandemic has shown how unsafe nursing homes can be. But is there a better option?," 22 June 2020 In recent months, eagle-eyed fans started noticing the couple — known to be vocal about their love on social media — were posting about each other less and less. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Carly Pearce Files for Divorce from Michael Ray After Less Than a Year of Marriage," 22 June 2020 Lindsay has been vocal about the show's lack of diversity and threatened to quit the Bachelor franchise if changes were not made. NBC News, "Rachel Lindsay says racist contestant was on her season of 'The Bachelorette'," 18 June 2020 NY Pizza and Vantina have been vocal about their employees testing positive. Claire Ballor, Dallas News, "‘This is everywhere’: A growing list of Dallas-area restaurants with COVID-19 cases among staff," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The soundtrack also contains a version with a soulful vocal by Jorja Smith. Los Angeles Times, "Compiled just for you: The Emmy-contending original songs playlist for 2020," 15 June 2020 One-to-one vocal, acting and musical theater coaching. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The pandemic forced a Milwaukee theater company to go virtual. Now its students with disabilities are thriving.," 8 June 2020 But even with the surprising addition of Kehlani’s syrupy vocals, Suga isn’t all sweet: Some of the later tracks, which find Megan shifting toward an almost leaden singing style, lack the rigor and sharpness of the prior songs. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Megan Thee Stallion’s Sweet Defiance," 15 Mar. 2020 Swampy drag-roll marches get paired with moaning slide solos, and Woodhouse adds strong soul-rock vocals on top. John Adamian, courant.com, "Roots rock band Trigger Hippy, with Black Crowes’ drummer Steve Gorman and singer Amber Woodhouse, playing Infinity Hall," 1 Nov. 2019 While SM58s and other dynamic microphones are a go-to for live vocals on stage, a condenser is the only way to go in the studio. Popular Science, "Inexpensive, all-purpose microphones for home recording," 18 Oct. 2019 Howie Mandel has been a big fan of Courtney Hadwin since the moment the 13-year-old rocked her vocals on the America's Got Talent stage, awarding her the golden buzzer, which sent her straight to the live shows. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "Howie Mandel Gets Real About Whether Courtney Hadwin Will Win 'America's Got Talent' Finals," 17 Sep. 2018 In 1957, with their parents' blessing, the remaining brothers decided to regroup and move to New York, with brother Ronnie assuming lead vocals. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Top 20 most successful musicians from Cincinnati: 10-1," 9 Apr. 2020 During the chorus, a whole band pipes up: piano, backing vocals, more guitar, handclaps. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "John Prine’s Perfect Songs," 8 Apr. 2020

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

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vocal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vocal. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for vocal


How to pronounce vocal (audio)

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

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