Definition of vocable in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈvəʊkəb(ə)l/


A word, especially with reference to form rather than meaning.
Example sentences
  • The poem describes the toddler as ‘Yapping always,’ as producing the fluent vocables that gradually give birth to words, but still not enunciating the words themselves.
  • How does the human being who says ‘That's green’ differ from the parrot trained to utter the same vocables in response to the presentation of a green card?
  • Lowell goes all out for the adjective, and it's hard to think of a writer with such provocative and interesting adjectives, or one who finds such depth in what is thought of as a shallow and inessential vocable.


Late Middle English (denoting a name): from French, or from Latin vocabulum, from vocare 'call'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: voc|able

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.