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A word considered only as a sequence of sounds or letters rather than as a unit of meaning.
Capable of being voiced or spoken.

[French, from Old French, from Latin vocābulum, name, from vocāre, to call; see wekw- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Linguistics) any word, either written or spoken, regarded simply as a sequence of letters or spoken sounds, irrespective of its meaning
2. (Phonetics & Phonology) a vocal sound; vowel
(Linguistics) capable of being uttered
[C16: from Latin vocābulum a designation, from vocāre to call]
ˈvocably adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈvoʊ kə bəl)

a word, esp. one considered only as a combination of sounds or letters without regard to meaning.
[1520–30; < Latin vocābulum word, name =vocā(re) to call + -bulum n. suffix]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.vocable - a word that is spoken aloudvocable - a word that is spoken aloud    
word - a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made"; "he hardly said ten words all morning"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈvəʊkəbl] N (Phon) → vocablo m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in classic literature ?
At the same time I confess that I have a prejudice against certain words that I cannot overcome; the sight of some offends me, the sound of others, and rather than use one of those detested vocables, even when I perceive that it would convey my exact meaning, I would cast about long for some other.
Of these the first is that they could never use words or other signs arranged in such a manner as is competent to us in order to declare our thoughts to others: for we may easily conceive a machine to be so constructed that it emits vocables, and even that it emits some correspondent to the action upon it of external objects which cause a change in its organs; for example, if touched in a particular place it may demand what we wish to say to it; if in another it may cry out that it is hurt, and such like; but not that it should arrange them variously so as appositely to reply to what is said in its presence, as men of the lowest grade of intellect can do.
His chief impression with regard to ascertaining those mysterious correlatives of his familiar English vocables which were current in this extraordinary city of Paris was, that it was simply a matter of a good deal of unwonted and rather ridiculous muscular effort on his own part.
If our neophyte, strong in the new-born love of antiquity, were to undertake to imitate what he had learnt to admire, it must be allowed he would act very injudiciously, if he were to select from the Glossary the obsolete words which it contains, and employ those exclusively of all phrases and vocables retained in modern days.
Hilbery had been, to disport themselves now in the Saxon plainness, now in the Latin splendor of the tongue, and stored with memories, as she was, of old poets exuberating in an infinity of vocables. Even Katharine was slightly affected against her better judgment by her mother's enthusiasm.
Au contraire, l'auteur releve une declinaison des vocables propres a qualifier (ou disqualifier) pejorativement le Noir.
The texts of Maralung's songs comprise almost entirely vocables -- that is, words with no meaning in normal language.
In the introduction to his marvelous collection of essays on archeology, Luminous Debris, Sobin describes the connection directly: "I'd go out 'silexing' after a day's work as a writer, and find myself, once again, scouring the empty expanses before me, scouring the ground for a second set of stray vocables, lost nominals." [1] This nostalgic coordination of words and things is, however, balanced by a more skeptical semiotics that crops up frequently in this book:
Ces differents vocables, qui permettent d'apprehender sous divers angles le statut metropolitain de Montreal, mettent en valeur autant ses traits distincts que ses caracteristiques par rapport aux autres metropoles nord-americaines et europeennes.
The organization is according to vocables rather than analysed forms, which means, in particular, that preformatives and inseparable prepositions are not detached before entry.
It should scarcely be necessary to emphasize that the carefully staged (but nonetheless supremely artificial) opposition of two equally untenable fictions - (1) a music distinguished and authenticated by either the rapidity and spontaneity of the associated creative act, or else by reason of some supposedly natural qualities innate to the gesturally discursive vocables employed, and (2) one-dimensional distillations of abstract, material-bound strategies of generation such as are often purported to characterize that all-purpose scapegoat, Serialism - does not survive much detailed examination.