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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Verbal or oral?

Pompeii oral sex depictionImage via Wikipedia
Verbal or oral?
Verbal: adjective - of someone - dealing with or using words, especially in contrast to things or realities; using a lot of words; talkative, verbose; articulate; of or pertaining to words; consisting or composed of words; of the nature of a word; in Grammar -  derived from a verb, of the nature of a verb.

Oral: adjective - performed with or by the mouth as the organ of eating and drinking; in Medication - taken by mouth; involving such administration; uttered or communicated in spoken words; conducted by word of mouth; spoken, verbal; delivered or transmitted verbally; of or pertaining to the mouth, as a body part; sexual activity where the genitals of one partner are stimulated by the mouth of the other, cunnilingus and fellatio; in Psychoanalysis – relating to a supposed stage of infantile psychosexual development, where the mouth is the main focus of energy and feeling.

As you can see, Verbal can refer to both written and spoken communication, but oral is more useful for distinguishing the spoken word from the written.

'The press secretary produced a verbal statement from the politician, in which he attempted to explain, in as many polysyllabic words as he could devise, the steps that had led to his fraudulent expenses claims.'

'Standing on the steps of the cathedral, the bishop made an oral declaration of his intent to root out child abuse by priests, which had been endemic in the parish prior to his appointment.'

'Stanley and Joyce were so committed to oral sex that they rarely achieved orgasm any other way and therefore found it impossible to become parents.' 

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