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verbal Syllabification: ver·bal
Pronunciation: /ˈvərbəl/

Definition of verbal in English:


1Relating to or in the form of words: the root of the problem is visual rather than verbal verbal abuse
More example sentences
  • He gave Rafe a parting thump along with a touch more verbal abuse and left us alone.
  • I didn't feel up for more verbal abuse, but I still wondered where he was taking me.
  • After protracted verbal sparring followed by hand-to-hand combat, Harry defeats Riddle by stabbing the diary.
1.1Spoken rather than written; oral: a verbal agreement
More example sentences
  • Healthcare providers may need to write ‘exercise prescriptions’ rather than give verbal advice to frail older adults.
  • This can be accomplished by employing consistent verbal descriptors in both oral speech and written materials.
  • They have extraordinary verbal skills and written skills.
oral, spoken, stated, said, verbalized, expressed;
unwritten, word-of-mouth
1.2Tending to talk a lot: he’s very verbal
More example sentences
  • Second, Crow suggests that evolutionary processes were greatly accelerated by female selection of highly verbal males.
2 Grammar Of, relating to, or derived from a verb: a verbal adjective
More example sentences
  • It is unlikely that such a verb as organize will shift, because of its verbal suffix: no Let's have an organize.
  • The past forms of nominal sentences are verbal sentences because of the verb of existence which expresses the past tense.
  • Nominal, adjectival, and verbal expressions can, however, be ‘coerced’ into serving a non-prototypical function.


Grammar Back to top  
1A word or words functioning as a verb.
1.1A verbal noun.


It is sometimes said that the true sense of the adjective verbal is ‘of or concerned with words,’ whether spoken or written (as in verbal abuse), and that it should not be used to mean ‘spoken rather than written’ (as in a verbal agreement). For this strictly ‘spoken’ sense, it is said that the adjective oral should be used instead. In practice, however, verbal is well established in this sense and, even in legal contexts, a verbal agreement is understood to mean a contract whose accepted terms have been spoken rather than written.


Pronunciation: /ˈvərbəlē/
Example sentences
  • Ross verbally attacked two of the young female LFF workers and both walked away in tears.
  • As far as I can remember, the substance of the dream was that I was fighting with him verbally.
  • He's not just verbally inventive and witty like Groucho, he's more ambitious and pretentious.


Late 15th century (describing a person who deals with words rather than things): from French, or from late Latin verbalis, from verbum 'word' (see verb).

Words that rhyme with verbal

burble, herbal
Definition of verbal in:
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