Definition of oral adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɔːrəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːrəl//
    Language skills
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  1. 1[usually before noun] spoken rather than written a test of both oral and written French oral evidence He was interested in oral history(= history that is collected from interviews with people who have personal knowledge of past events). stories passed on by oral tradition Synonymsspokenoral vocalThese words all describe producing language using the voice, rather than writing.spoken (of language) produced using the voice; said rather than written:an exam in spoken Englishoral [usually before noun] spoken rather than written:There will be a test of both oral and written French.spoken or oral?Both of these words can be used to refer to language skills and the communication of information:spoken/​oral French a spoken/​oral presentation. In these cases oral is slightly more technical than spoken. Oral but not spoken can also be used with words such as tradition, culture and legends to talk about the way in which people pass stories down from one generation to the next, and in legal contexts followed by words such as evidence and hearing. vocal [usually before noun] connected with the voice:vocal music the vocal organs (= the tongue, lips, etc.) Vocal is used to talk about the ability to produce sounds using the voice, and is often used in musical contexts when referring to singing.Patterns spoken/​oral French/​English/​Japanese, etc. spoken/​oral language skills compare verbal See related entries: Language skills
  2. 2[only before noun] connected with the mouth oral hygiene oral sex (= using the mouth to stimulate somebody’s sex organs) an oral contraceptive (= that is swallowed like medicine)
  3. 3 (phonetics) (of a speech sound) produced without the air in the nose vibrating compare nasal
  4. Word Originearly 17th cent.: from late Latin oralis, from Latin os, or- ‘mouth’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: oral