Word of the Day : September 22, 2018

viva voce

adverb vye-vuh-VOH-see


: by word of mouth : orally

Did You Know?

Viva voce derives from Medieval Latin, where it translates literally as "with the living voice." In English it occurs in contexts, such as voting, in which something is done aloud for all to hear. Votes in Congress, for example, are done viva voce—members announce their votes by calling out "yea" or "nay." While the phrase was first used in English as an adverb in the 16th century, it can also appear as an adjective (as in "a viva voce examination") or a noun (where it refers to an examination conducted orally).


"He was examined according to standard inquisitorial procedures derived from Roman law and medieval practice. Interrogators put questions to the accused who answered viva voce, in writing, or both, as demanded." — Donald Weinstein, Savonarola: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet, 2011

"In the old days, voter turnout was significant because the rite was an open event and fun-filled. In colonial Maryland and Virginia, for example, a citizen would cast his vote orally—viva voce—and then would be rewarded with food and strong drink by the candidate he had just voted for." — Thomas V. DiBacco, The Washington Times, 26 Oct. 2016

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create a noun that means "word of mouth": LAOPR.



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