Meaning of VERBAL in English

— verbally , adv.

/verr"beuhl/ , adj.

1. of or pertaining to words: verbal ability.

2. consisting of or in the form of words: verbal imagery.

3. expressed in spoken words; oral rather than written: verbal communication; verbal agreement.

4. consisting of or expressed in words (as opposed to actions): a verbal protest.

5. pertaining to or concerned with words only (as opposed to ideas, facts, or realities): a purely verbal distinction between two concepts.

6. corresponding word for word; verbatim: a verbal translation.

7. using words: verbal facility.

8. based on the use of words (as opposed to other activity): a verbal score in a test; verbal IQ.

9. Gram.

a. of, pertaining to, or derived from a verb.

b. used in a sentence as or like a verb, as participles and infinitives.


10. Gram. a word, particularly a noun or adjective, derived from a verb.

[ 1485-95; verbalis, equiv. to verb ( um ) word (see VERB) + -alis -AL 1 ]

Syn. 3. spoken.

Usage. 3, 4. VERBAL has had the meaning "spoken" since the late 16th century and is thus synonymous with oral: He wrote a memorandum to confirm the verbal agreement. Slightly earlier, VERBAL had developed the meaning "expressed in words, whether spoken or written (as opposed to actions)": Verbal support is no help without money and supplies. Although some say that the use of VERBAL to mean "spoken" produces ambiguity, it rarely does so.

VERBAL is used in this sense in all varieties of speech and writing and is fully standard. The context usually makes the meaning clear: No documents are necessary; a verbal agreement (or contract or order ) will suffice. Oral can be used instead of VERBAL if the context demands: My lawyer insists on a written contract because oral agreements are too difficult to enforce.

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .