early 15c., "dealing with words" (especially in contrast to things or realities), from Old French verbal (14c.) and directly from Late Latin verbalis "consisting of words, relating to verbs," from Latin verbum "word" (see verb). Related: Verbally. Verbal conditioning is recorded from 1954. Colloquial verbal diarrhea is recorded from 1823. A verbal noun is a noun derived from a verb and sharing in its senses and constructions.
updated on March 12, 2014