1. Sound uttered by the mouth, especially that uttered by human beings in speech or song; sound thus uttered considered as possessing some special quality or character; as, the human voice; a pleasant voice; a low voice. "He with a manly voice saith his message." (Chaucer) "Her voice was ever soft, Gentle, and low; an excellent thing in woman." (Shak) "Thy voice is music." (Shak) "Join thy voice unto the angel choir." (Milton)
2. Sound of the kind or quality heard in speech or song in the consonants b, v, d, etc, and in the vowels; sonant, or intonated, utterance; tone; distinguished from mere breath sound as heard in f, s, sh, etc, and also whisper.
Voice, in this sense, is produced by vibration of the so-called vocal cords in the larynx which act upon the air, not in the manner of the strings of a stringed instrument, but as a pair of membranous tongues, or reeds, which, being continually forced apart by the outgoing current of breath, and continually brought together again by their own elasticity and muscular tension, break the breath current into a series of puffs, or pulses, sufficiently rapid to cause the sensation of tone. The power, or loudness, of such a tone depends on the force of the separate pulses, and this is determined by the pressure of the expired air, together with the resistance on the part of the vocal cords which is continually overcome. Its pitch depends on the number of aerial pulses within a given time, that is, on the rapidity of their succession.
3. The tone or sound emitted by anything. "After the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings xix. 12) "Canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" (Job xl. 9) "The floods have lifted up their voice." (Ps. Xciii. 3) "O Marcus, I am warm'd; my heart Leaps at the trumpet's voice." (Addison)
5. Language; words; speech; expression; signification of feeling or opinion. "I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you." (Gal. Iv. 20) "My voice is in my sword." (Shak) "Let us call on God in the voice of his church." (Bp. Fell)
6. Opinion or choice expressed; judgment; a vote. "Sic. How now, my masters! have you chose this man? 1 Cit. He has our voices, sir." (Shak) "Some laws ordain, and some attend the choice Of holy senates, and elect by voice." (Dryden)
8. One who speaks; a speaker. "A potent voice of Parliament."
<medicine> Active voice, the brief and obscure neutral vowel sound that sometimes occurs between two consonants in an unaccented syllable (represented by the apostrophe), as in able . See Glide. Voice stop. See Voiced stop, under Voiced, With one voice, unanimously. "All with one voice . . . Cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." .
Origin: OE. Vois, voys, OF. Vois, voiz, F. Voix, L. Vox, vocis, akin to Gr. A word, a voice, Skr. Vac to say, to speak, G. Erwahnen to mention. Cf. Advocate, Advowson, Avouch, Convoke, Epic, Vocal, Vouch, Vowel.
(01 Mar 1998)
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