The word oral means having to do with the mouth or speaking. When you give an oral report in school, you stand in front of the class and talk.

Use the adjective oral to describe something that's spoken aloud, like an oral exam or an oral history passed between generations through bedtime stories. Oral is also good for referring to other things you do with your mouth — your dentist may drive you crazy talking about "oral hygiene," or keeping your teeth clean. The roots of the word oral go back to the Latin word for "mouth," which is os.

Definitions of oral
  1. adjective
    using speech rather than writing
    “an oral tradition”
    “an oral agreement”
    synonyms: unwritten
    uttered through the medium of speech or characterized by speech; sometimes used in combination
  2. adjective
    of or relating to or affecting or for use in the mouth
    oral hygiene”
    “an oral thermometer”
    “an oral vaccine”
  3. adjective
    of or involving the mouth or mouth region or the surface on which the mouth is located
    “the oral cavity”
    “the oral mucous membrane”
    “the oral surface of a starfish”
    oriented toward the inside of the cheek
    lying within the mouth
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    opposite to or away from the mouth
  4. adjective
    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
    see moresee less
    anal, anal retentive
    a stage in psychosexual development when the child's interest is concentrated on the anal region; fixation at this stage is said to result in orderliness, meanness, stubbornness, compulsiveness, etc.
  5. noun
    an examination conducted by spoken communication
    synonyms: oral exam, oral examination, viva, viva voce
    see moresee less
    type of:
    exam, examination, test
    a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge
Commonly confused words

aural / oral / verbal

Aural refers to the ear or hearing, and oral to the mouth or speaking. Something verbal is expressed in words, either spoken or written. Listen to the aural sensations of songs from outer space when you've been gassed for your oral surgery. Then stay non-verbal because you can't use words for a long time after the dentist wakes you up.

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