One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A word, especially with reference to form rather than meaning.
term, name, expression, designation, locutionView synonyms
- ‘The poem describes the toddler as ‘Yapping always,’ as producing the fluent vocables that gradually give birth to words, but still not enunciating the words themselves.’
- ‘How does the human being who says ‘That's green’ differ from the parrot trained to utter the same vocables in response to the presentation of a green card?’
- ‘Lowell goes all out for the adjective, and it's hard to think of a writer with such provocative and interesting adjectives, or one who finds such depth in what is thought of as a shallow and inessential vocable.’
Late Middle English (denoting a name): from French, or from Latin vocabulum, from vocare ‘call’.
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