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ver·bal  audio  (vûrbl) KEY 

  1. Of, relating to, or associated with words: a detailed verbal description.
    1. Concerned with words only rather than with content or ideas: a merely verbal distinction.
    2. Consisting of words alone without action: a verbal confrontation.
  2. Expressed in spoken rather than written words; oral: a verbal contract.
  3. Corresponding word for word; literal: a verbal translation.
  4. Grammar
    1. Relating to, having the nature or function of, or derived from a verb.
    2. Used to form verbs: a verbal suffix.
  5. Of or relating to proficiency in the use and understanding of words: a verbal aptitude test.
A verbal noun or adjective.

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin verblis, from Latin verbum, word ; see verb

Usage Note:
Verbal has been used since the 16th century to refer to spoken, as opposed to written, communication, and the usage cannot be considered incorrect. But because verbal may also mean "by linguistic means," it may be ambiguous in some contexts. Thus the phrase modern technologies for verbal communication may refer only to devices such as radio, the telephone, and the loudspeaker, or it may refer to devices such as the telegraph, the teletype, and the fax machine. In such contexts it may be clearer to use the word oral to convey the narrower sense of communication by spoken means.

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