[ vur-buh-liz-uhm ]
See synonyms for verbalism on
  1. a verbal expression, as a word or phrase.

  2. the way in which something is worded; choice of words; phrasing.

  1. a phrase or sentence having little or no meaning.

  2. a use of words considered as predominating over or obscuring ideas or reality; verbiage.

Origin of verbalism

First recorded in 1780–90; verbal + -ism

Words Nearby verbalism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use verbalism in a sentence

  • Bad verbalism is rhetoric, or the use of clich unconsciously, or a mere playing with phrases.

    Instigations | Ezra Pound
  • Here we are, then, in the realm of pure verbalism—in the ideal region of signs.

  • We may surround the subject with a vague and attractive idealistic verbalism, but we come back to this as a starting point.

    Theism or Atheism | Chapman Cohen
  • This 'science,' therefore, finally reduces to mere verbalism, distracted by inconsistent relapses into 'psychology.'

    Pragmatism | D.L. Murray
  • But there is good verbalism, distinct from lyricism or imagism, and in this Laforgue is a master.

    Instigations | Ezra Pound

British Dictionary definitions for verbalism


/ (ˈvɜːbəˌlɪzəm) /

  1. a verbal expression; phrase or word

  2. an exaggerated emphasis on the importance of words by the uncritical acceptance of assertions in place of explanations, the use of rhetorical style, etc

  1. a statement lacking real content, esp a cliché

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012