1. Of or relating to the production of sound through the mouth: the vertebrate vocal organs; a vocal defect.
2. Uttered or produced by the voice: vocal sounds.
3. Full of voices; resounding: a playground vocal with the shouts and laughter of children.
4. Tending to express oneself often or freely; outspoken: a vocal critic of city politics.
a. Of or resembling vowels; vocalic.
6. Music Of, relating to, or performed by singing: vocal training; vocal music.
1. A vocal sound.
2. often vocals A part or melody that is sung in a musical performance or recording: The drummer does the lead vocal on that song.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vōcālis, from vōx, vōc-, voice; see wekw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.