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 In recent days, the Biden administration has been vocal in public and privately with the British government, raising concerns that an escalating trade dispute between the U.K. and the EU could threaten peace in Northern Ireland. Jennifer Jacobs, Fortune, 11 June 2021 Progressives have been vocal in criticizing his China policy, accusing the president of starting a cold war that could stoke anti-Asian sentiment. Thomas Wright, The Atlantic, 9 June 2021 Since being fired, Jones set up her own COVID-19 dashboard that was similar to the one run by the state and continued to be vocal on social media about inconsistencies in how the state presented the health data. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, 9 June 2021 The officer has been vocal in recent months about the danger of downplaying the Capitol riot and the false claims that fueled it. Paul Leblanc, CNN, 8 June 2021 Phoenix has been vocal about his views on animal welfare, launching into an attack on the dairy industry during his acceptance speech for best actor at the 2020 Oscars. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, 8 June 2021 Known for her distinctive vocal talent, the female rapper’s earthy and raspy vocals are once again highlighted in the new song. Billboard Korea Staff, Billboard, 7 June 2021 Over the past year, Osaka has been very vocal about the social and criminal injustices that Black people face in America and in Japan, where she was born. Dahleen Glanton, Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 Indiana's red flag law has been under the microscope after April's mass shooting at a FedEx Ground facility — and perhaps no critic has been as vocal about the law as Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, 2 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Wolfgang played every instrument and sang every vocal. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, 2 June 2021 When Mavis Staples was a little girl, her father used to stand her on a chair so crowds who flocked to hear the Staple Singers could get a decent look at the source of that powerful vocal. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 24 May 2021 The combination of a warm bed of organ and the artist’s gently plaintive vocal gives the feel of a prayer offered up in private. Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone, 2 June 2021 His father shoveled fertilizer in stockyards and laid bricks before putting the family vocal group together. New York Times, 14 May 2021 Newton-John’s mundane vocal might seem odd (and lame) now. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 13 May 2021 Last year, the seven-member vocal outfit made waves when their first collection Border: Day One not only placed on the World Albums chart, but three tracks from the short set also appeared on the World Digital Song Sales chart. Hugh Mcintyre, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Also performing are the celebrated vocal ensembles Roomful of Teeth and Constellation Chor as well as chamber orchestra Metropolis Ensemble, members of the Cincinnati Symphony and a band full of stylistically versatile instrumentalists. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 Along with young Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, the artist born Neville O’Riley Livingston co-founded vocal trio the Wailers, who played a crucial role in transforming early 1960s ska music into rocksteady and ultimately reggae. Los Angeles Times, 2 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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vocal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vocal. Accessed 24 Jun. 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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