a vocal sound.
a musical piece for a singer, usually with instrumental accompaniment.Compare instrumental(def 6).

Origin of vocal

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin vōcālis, equivalent to vōc- (stem of vōx) voice + -ālis -al1
Related formsvo·cal·i·ty [voh-kal-i-tee] /voʊˈkæl ɪ ti/, vo·cal·ness, nounvo·cal·ly, adverbnon·vo·cal, adjective, nounnon·vo·cal·ly, adverbnon·vo·cal·ness, nounnon·vo·cal·i·ty, noun

Synonyms for vocal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vocal

Contemporary Examples of vocal

Historical Examples of vocal

  • Still the barytone, who was almost as fond of conversation as of what he termed "vocal."


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He produced the lop-sided appearance of his laugh, but without making it vocal.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • Toward evening there was vocal music, and the men sang in chorus.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • He wriggled and fought, but he was pinned and helpless, hands, feet and vocal organs.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I believe I have a demon that inhabits my vocal cords upon occasion.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

British Dictionary definitions for vocal



of, relating to, or designed for the voicevocal music
produced or delivered by the voicevocal noises
connected with an attribute or the production of the voicevocal organs
frequently disposed to outspoken speech, criticism, etca vocal minority
full of sound or voicesa vocal assembly
endowed with a voice
eloquent or meaningful
  1. of or relating to a speech sound
  2. of or relating to a voiced speech sound, esp a vowel


a piece of jazz or pop music that is sung
a performance of such a piece of music
Derived Formsvocality (vəʊˈkælɪtɪ), nounvocally, adverb

Word Origin for vocal

C14: from Latin vōcālis possessed of a voice, from vōx voice
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

Word Origin and History for vocal

late 14c., "spoken, oral," from Old French vocal, from Latin vocalis "sounding, sonorous, speaking," as a noun, "a vowel," from vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (see voice (n.)). In reference to music (as opposed to instrumental), first recorded 1580s; meaning "outspoken" first attested 1871. Vocal cords is from 1872; see cord.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vocal in Medicine




Of or relating to the voice.
Capable of emitting sound or speech.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.