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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for voice in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /vɔɪs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪs

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English voice, vois, borrowed from Anglo-Norman voiz, voys, voice, Old French vois, voiz (Modern French voix), from Latin vōcem, accusative form of vōx (voice), from Proto-Indo-European *wṓkʷs, root noun from the *wekʷ- (to utter, speak). Cognate with Sanskrit वाच् (vāc), Ancient Greek ὄψ (óps), Persian آواز (âvâz). 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.


voice (plural voices)

  1. Sound uttered by the mouth, especially by human beings in speech or song; sound thus uttered considered as possessing some special quality or character
    The human voice is the oldest musical instrument in history.
    She has a pleasant voice.
    His low voice allowed hum to become a bass in the choir.
    • 2011 April 10, Alistair Magowan, “Aston Villa 1 - 0 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner had backed manager Houllier during the week and asked for the fans to get behind their team as they looked to steer themselves away from the relegation zone.
      To that end, the home supporters were in good voice to begin with, but it was Newcastle who started the game in the ascendancy, with Barton putting a diving header over the top from Jose Enrique's cross.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Geoffrey Chaucer
      He with a manly voice saith his message.
    • (Can we date this quote?) — Shakespeare, King Lear, V-iii
      Her voice was ever soft, Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman.
    • (Can we date this quote?) — Shakespeare, Henry V, V-ii
      Thy voice is music.
    • (Can we date this quote?)John Milton
      Join thy voice unto the angel choir.
  2. (phonetics) Sound made through vibration of the vocal cords; sonant, or intonated, utterance; tone; — distinguished from mere breath sound as heard in whispering and voiceless consonants.
  3. The tone or sound emitted by an object
    • (Can we date this quote?)1 Kings 19:12
      After the fire a still small voice.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Job 40:9
      Canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
    • (Can we date this quote?)Psalms 93:3
      The floods have lifted up their voice.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Joseph Addison
      O Marcus, I am warm’d; my heart Leaps at the trumpet’s voice.
  4. The faculty or power of utterance
    to cultivate the voice
  5. That which is communicated; message; meaning.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Galatians 4:20
      I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
    • (Can we date this quote?) — Shakespeare, Macbeth, V-vii
      My voice is in my sword.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Bishop Fell
      Let us call on God in the voice of his church.
  6. Opinion or choice expressed; judgment
    • (Can we date this quote?) — Shakespeare, Coriolanus, II-iii
      Sicinius. How now, my masters! have you chose this man? / 1st Citizen. He has our voices, sir.
    • Some laws ordain, and some attend the choice / Of holy senates, and elect by voice. — John Dryden
  7. (archaic) Command; precept.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Deuteronomy 8:20
      So shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.
  8. One who speaks; a speaker.
  9. (grammar) A particular way of inflecting or conjugating verbs, or a particular form of a verb, by means of which is indicated the relation of the subject of the verb to the action which the verb expresses.
    The verbal system of Latin has two voices, active and passive.
    • 2012, Drew Arlen Mannetter, I Came, I Saw, I Translated: An Accelerated Method for Learning Classical Latin in the 21st Century, page 197:
      There are four tenses of the subjunctive (present, perfect, imperfect, and pluperfect) and three voices (active, passive, and deponent). [...] See 12.8 for the formation of the deponent voice.
  10. (music) In harmony, an independent vocal or instrumental part in a piece of composition.
    The theme of this piece constantly migrates between the three voice parts.
  11. (Internet, IRC) A flag associated with a user on a channel, determining whether or not they can send messages to the channel.
    • 1999, "Cory McWilliams", IRC Oddities (on newsgroup alt.irc)
      True, better clients will remember that a person had a voice before they were opped and will return the + when they are deopped, but that doesn't solve the problem.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English voicen, from the noun (see above).


voice (third-person singular simple present voices, present participle voicing, simple past and past participle voiced)

  1. (transitive) To give utterance or expression to; to utter; to publish; to announce
    He voiced the sentiments of the nation.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Francis Bacon
      Rather assume thy right in silence and . . . then voice it with claims and challenges.
    • (Can we date this quote?)Francis Bacon
      It was voiced that the king purposed to put to death Edward Plantagenet.
  2. (transitive, phonology) To utter audibly, with tone and not just breath.
  3. (transitive) To fit for producing the proper sounds; to regulate the tone of
    voice the pipes of an organ
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To vote; to elect; to appoint
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To clamor; to cry out
  6. (transitive, Internet) To assign the voice flag to a user on IRC, permitting them to send messages to the channel.
  7. (television, film) To act as a voice actor to portray a character.
    • 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits :”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      The openly ridiculous plot has The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) scheming to win the Pirate Of The Year competition, even though he’s a terrible pirate, far outclassed by rivals voiced by Jeremy Piven and Salma Hayek.
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.