from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human.
  • noun The ability to produce such sounds.
  • noun The mind as it produces verbal thoughts.
  • noun A specified quality, condition, or pitch of vocal sound.
  • noun Linguistics Expiration of air through vibrating vocal cords, used in the production of vowels and voiced consonants.
  • noun A sound resembling or reminiscent of vocal utterance.
  • noun Musical sound produced by vibration of the human vocal cords and resonated within the throat and head cavities.
  • noun The quality or condition of a person's singing.
  • noun A singer.
  • noun One of the individual vocal or instrumental parts or strands in a composition.
  • noun Expression; utterance.
  • noun A medium or agency of expression.
  • noun The right or opportunity to express a choice or opinion.
  • noun Grammar A property of verbs or a set of verb inflections indicating the relation between the subject and the action expressed by the verb.
  • noun The distinctive style or manner of expression of an author or of a character in a book.
  • transitive verb To give expression to; utter.
  • transitive verb Linguistics To pronounce with vibration of the vocal cords.
  • transitive verb To provide (a composition) with voice parts.
  • transitive verb To regulate the tone of (the pipes of an organ, for example).
  • transitive verb To provide the voice for (a cartoon character or show, for example).
  • idiom (at the top of (one's) voice) As loudly as one's voice will allow.
  • idiom (with one voice) In complete agreement; unanimously.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, a singer or the voice-part that a singer sings.
  • noun In voice-building, same as voice quality.
  • noun The sound made by the stridulation of an insect.
  • To give utterance to; assert; proclaim; declare; announce; rumor; report.
  • To fit for producing the proper sounds; regulate the tone of: as, to voice the pipes of an organ. See voicing.
  • To write the voiceparts of. Hill, Dict. Mus. Terms.
  • To nominate; adjudge by acclamation; declare.
  • In phonetics, to utter with voice or toue or sonancy, as distinguished from breath.
  • To speak; vote; give opinion.
  • noun The sound uttered by the mouths of living creatures; especially, human utterance in speaking, singing, crying, shouting, etc.; the sound made by a person in speaking, singing, crying, etc.; the character, quality, or expression of the sounds so uttered: as, to hear a voice; to recognize a voice; a loud voice; a low voice.
  • noun Voice as a scientific term may mean either the faculty of nttering audible sounds, or the body of audible sounds produced by the organs of respiration, especially the larynx of man and other animals: contradistinguished from speech or articulate language. Voice is produced when air is driven by the muscles of expiration from the lungs through the trachea and strikes against the two vocal cords (see cord), the vibrations of which produce sounds varying in different animals according to the structure of the organs and the power which the animal possesses over them. Voice can, therefore, be found only in animals in which this svstem of respiration is developed, and the lungs and larynx (or syrinx) actually exist. Fishes, having no lnngs, are dumb, as far as true vocal utterance is concerned, though various noises may issue from their throats (see croaker, grunt, and drum). In man the superior organization and mobility of the tongue and lips, as well as the perfection of the larynx, enable him to modify his vocal sounds to an almost infinite extent. In ordinary speaking the tones of the voice have nearly all the same pitch, and the variety of the sounds is due rather to the action of the mouth-organs than to definite movements of the glottis and vocal cords. In singing the successive sounds correspond more or less closely to the ideal tones of the musical scale. The male voice admits of division into tenor and bass, and the female into soprano and contralto. The lowest female tone is an octave or so higher than the lowest tone of the male voice; and the female's highest tone is about an octave above that of the male. The compass of both voices taken together is four octaves or more, the chief differences residing in the pitch and also in the timbre. In medicine, voice is the sound of utterance as transmitted through the lungs and chest-wall in auscultation. In zoology, voice is ordinarily restricted to respiratory sounds or vocal utterance, as above explained, and as distinguished from any mechanical noise, like stridulation, etc. The more usual word for the voice of any animal is cry; and the various cries, distinctive or characteristic of certain animals, take many distinctive terms, according to their vocal quality, as bark, bay, bellow, bleat, bray, cackle, call, caw, chatter, chirp, chirrup, cluck, coo, croak, crow, gabble, gobble, growl, grunt, hiss, honk, hoot, howl, low, mew, neigh, peep, pipe, purr, quack, roar, scream, screech, snarl, snort, song, squall, squawk, squeak, squeal, trumpet, twitter, warble, waul, whine, whinny, whistle, whoop, yawp, yell, yelp, and many others. The voices of some animals, as certain monkeys and large carnivores and ruminants, may be heard a mile; or more. The voice reaches its highest development, in animals other than human, in the distinctively musical class of birds, some of which, notably parrots and certain corvine and sturnoid birds, can be taught to talk intelligible speech.
  • noun The faculty of speaking; speech; utterance.
  • noun A sound produced by an inanimate object and regarded as representing the voice of an intelligent being: as, the voice of the winds.
  • noun Anything analogous to human speech which conveys impressions to any of the senses or to the mind.
  • noun Opinion or choice expressed; the right of expressing an opinion; vote; suffrage: as, you have no voice in the matter.
  • noun One who speaks; a speaker.
  • noun Wish or admonition made known in any way; command; injunction.
  • noun That which is said; report; rumor; hence, reputation; fame.
  • noun A word; a term; a vocable.
  • noun In phonetics, sound uttered with resonance of the vocal cords, and not with a mere emission of breath; sonant utterance.
  • noun In grammar, that form of the verb or body of inflections which shows the relation of the subject of the affirmation or predication to the action expressed by the verb.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To give utterance or expression to; to utter; to publish; to announce; to divulge.
  • transitive verb (Phon.) To utter with sonant or vocal tone; to pronounce with a narrowed glottis and rapid vibrations of the vocal cords; to speak above a whisper.
  • transitive verb To fit for producing the proper sounds; to regulate the tone of.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French vois, from Latin vōx, vōc-; see wekw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English vois, from Anglo-Norman voiz, voys, voice, Old French vois, voiz (Modern French voix), from Latin vōcem, accusative form of Latin vōx ("voice"), from Proto-Indo-European *wek-, *wekʷ-, *wokʷ- (“to utter, speak”). Cognate with Sanskrit वच् ("to say, speak"), German erwähnen ("to mention"). Displaced native Middle English steven ("voice"), from Old English stefn (see steven), Middle English rouste ("voice") from Old Norse raust, and Middle English rearde ("voice") from Old English reord. Compare advocate, advowson, avouch, convoke, epic, vocal, vouch, vowel.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word voice.


  • Then through the gloom, with clear-pealing voice from across the stream, she called on Phrontis, the youngest of Phrixus 'sons, and he with his brothers and Aeson's son recognised the maiden's _voice_; and in silence his comrades wondered when they knew that it was so in truth.

    The Argonautica Apollonius Rhodius

  • It is to select certain sopranos, and when the voice breaks, let them pass to the alto part, and _continue to use the head voice_.

    The Child-Voice in Singing treated from a physiological and a practical standpoint and especially adapted to schools and boy choirs Francis E. Howard

  • The other voice was just a plain _voice_, Judith decided.

    Judith Lynn A Story of the Sea Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • This means that from six until the beginning of adolescence the voice maintains approximately the same range, and that this is the time to train it as a _child voice_.

    Essentials in Conducting Karl Wilson Gehrkens 1928

  • The two other types of glottal action determine the nature of the voice, “voice” being a convenient term for breath as utilized in speech.

    Chapter 3. The Sounds of Language 1921

  • 'Ye have not heard his voice at any time,' might mean, '_Ye have never listened to his voice_,' or '_Ye have never obeyed his voice_' but the following phrase, 'nor seen his shape,' keeps us rather to the primary sense of the word _hear: 'The sound of his voice is unknown to you;'

    Unspoken Sermons Series I., II., and II. George MacDonald 1864

  • II. iv.87 (263,8) [And in my voice most welcome shall ye be] _In my voice_, as far as I have a voice or vote, as far as I have power to bid you welcome.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • Saint John heard a voice, and _he turned about to see the voice_: [305] sometimes we are too curious of the instrument by what man God speaks; but thou speakest loudest when thou speakest to the heart.

    Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions Together with Death's Duel John Donne 1601

  • _The Lord thundered from heaven_, [301] it might be heard; but this voice, thy voice, is also a _mighty voice_; [302] not only mighty in power, it may be heard, nor mighty in obligation, it should be heard; but mighty in operation, it will be heard; and therefore hast thou bestowed a whole psalm [303] upon us, to lead us to the consideration of thy voice.

    Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions Together with Death's Duel John Donne 1601

  • First, an angel from heaven cries mightily with a strong voice, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen"; and then "_another voice_" from heaven says, "COME OUT OF HER,

    The Revelation Explained 1913


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 'The young pastor's voice as tremulously sweet, rich, deep and broken. The feeling that it so evidently manifested, rather than the direct purport of the words, caused it to vibrate within all hearts, and brought the listeners into one accord of sympathy.' -The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    February 21, 2008

  • glory, praise

    July 24, 2009