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

  • adj. Spoken rather than written. See Usage Note at verbal.
  • adj. Of or relating to the mouth: oral surgery.
  • adj. Used in or taken through the mouth: an oral thermometer; an oral vaccine.
  • adj. Consisting of or using speech: oral instruction.
  • adj. Linguistics Articulated through the mouth only, with the nasal passages closed.
  • adj. Psychology Of or relating to the first stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory, from birth to about 18 months, during which the mouth is the chief focus of exploration and pleasure. The oral stage is followed by the anal stage.
  • n. An academic examination in which questions and answers are spoken rather than written. Often used in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Relating to the mouth; mouthly.
  • adj. Spoken rather than written.
  • n. A spoken test or examination, particularly in a language class.
  • n. A physical examination of the mouth.
  • n. oral sex.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Uttered by the mouth, or in words; spoken, not written; verbal
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the mouth; surrounding or lining the mouth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to the mouth or ingestive opening: as, the oral orifice; oral surgery; oral gestation.
  • Uttered by the mouth or in words; spoken, not written: as, oral traditions; oral testimony; oral law.
  • Using or concerned with speech only, and not writing; communicating instruction, etc., by word of mouth; viva voce.
  • In zoology, situated on the same part or side of the body as the mouth: opposed to aboral or anal.
  • n. In crinoids, same as oral valve (which see, under oral).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. using speech rather than writing
  • adj. a stage in psychosexual development when the child's interest is concentrated in the mouth; fixation at this stage is said to result in dependence, selfishness, and aggression
  • adj. of or involving the mouth or mouth region or the surface on which the mouth is located
  • adj. of or relating to or affecting or for use in the mouth
  • n. an examination conducted by spoken communication


Late Latin ōrālis, from Latin ōs, ōr-, mouth; see ōs- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From New Latin oralis ("of the mouth"), from Latin os ("the mouth"). (Wiktionary)



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