Meaning of VERBAL in English

I. ver·bal ˈvərbəl, ˈvə̄b-, ˈvəib- adjective

Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French verbal, from Late Latin verbalis, from Latin verbum word, verb + -alis -al


a. : expert or facile in the use of words

the most painstaking and elaborate verbal artist among the … poets of today — H.M.Green

b. : concerned with or using words for effect rather than meaning

a merely verbal writer who sacrifices content to sound

c. obsolete : verbose , wordy

you put me to forget a lady's manners by being so verbal — Shakespeare


a. : of or relating to words : consisting in or having to do with words

few poets of the twentieth century have written verbal music with deeper sensibility — H.V.Gregory

a table of proportional dimensions for various widths is reproduced, and detailed verbal instructions are given — Experiment Station Record

b. : of, relating to, or involving words only : having to do with words rather than meaning or substance

a consistency that is merely verbal and scholastic — B.N.Cardozo

an outward conformity with its precepts and a verbal profession of its tenets — J.G.Frazer

c. : consisting of or using words only and not effective action

confined himself to a mere verbal protest

3. : of, relating to, or formed from a verb

occurs not less than ten times (eight times as a noun and twice in its verbal form) — Lutheran Quarterly

a verbal adjective

4. : spoken rather than written : oral

invitations to them may be verbal or by way of a short, informal note — Noreen Routledge

the employer's consent, verbal or written — Jacob Loft

5. : word for word : literal , verbatim

a verbal translation


a. : of or relating to facility in the use and comprehension of words

verbal aptitude

the verbal factor of a test

— compare numerical 1e

b. : depending on the medium of words

verbal communication

verbal arts


a. : involving the use of words rather than action or performance

the verbal IQ

b. : expressed merely through words : lacking in conceptual or emotional grasp

• ver·bal·ly -bəlē, -li adverb

II. verb·al noun

( -s )

: a word that combines characteristics of a verb with those of a noun or adjective — compare gerund , infinitive , participle

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.