a musical composition consisting of the singing of melody with vowel sounds or nonsense syllables rather than text, as for special effect in classical compositions, in polyphonic jazz singing by special groups, or in virtuoso vocal exercises.
any such singing exercise or vocalized melody.

Origin of vocalise

1870–75; < French vocalise, apparently noun derivative of vocaliser to vocalize, with -ise taken as a noun suffix (see -ise2)



verb (used with or without object), vo·cal·ised, vo·cal·is·ing.

Chiefly British. vocalize.



verb (used with object), vo·cal·ized, vo·cal·iz·ing.

to make vocal; utter; articulate; sing.
to endow with a voice; cause to utter.
  1. to voice.
  2. to change into a vowel (contrasted with consonantalize).
(of Hebrew, Arabic, and other writing systems that do not usually indicate vowels) to furnish with vowels or vowel points.

verb (used without object), vo·cal·ized, vo·cal·iz·ing.

to use the voice, as in speech or song.
to sing without uttering words, especially to warm up the voice, practice vowel sounds, etc., before a performance.
to sing scales, arpeggios, trills, or the like, usually to a solmization syllable or a vowel sound.
Phonetics. to become changed into a vowel.
Also especially British, vo·cal·ise.

Origin of vocalize

First recorded in 1660–70; vocal + -ize
Related formsvo·cal·i·za·tion, nounvo·cal·iz·er, nounmis·vo·cal·i·za·tion, nounnon·vo·cal·i·za·tion, nounsub·vo·cal·ize, verb, sub·vo·cal·ized, sub·vo·cal·iz·ing.un·vo·cal·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vocalise

Historical Examples of vocalise

  • These are followed by a vocalise or two, and a couple of songs or arias, which fill out the thirty minutes.

  • There are, I am aware, certain races who are unable to vocalise certain sounds and accordingly modify them.

    Archaic England

    Harold Bayley

British Dictionary definitions for vocalise



a musical passage sung upon one vowel as an exercise to develop flexibility and control of pitch and tone; solfeggio




to express with or use the voice; articulate (a speech, song, etc)
(tr) to make vocal or articulate
(tr) phonetics
  1. to articulate (a speech sound) with voice
  2. to change (a consonant) into a vowel
another word for vowelize
(intr) to sing a melody on a vowel, etc
Derived Formsvocalization or vocalisation, nounvocalizer or vocaliser, noun
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 vocalise



1660s, from vocal + -ize. Related: Vocalized; vocalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper