vi·ral | \ ˈvī-rəl \

Definition of viral 

1 : of, relating to, or caused by a virus a viral infection

2 : quickly and widely spread or popularized especially by means of social media a viral video

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Other words from viral

virally \ˈvī-rə-lē \ adverb

Examples of viral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The viral music video was viewed around 7.5 million times this week, over 2 million times more than last week's 5.4 million. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "SKE48 Bows at No. 1 as Kenshi Yonezu Lands 3 Songs in Top 10 on Japan Hot 100," 12 July 2018 Howard Martin does not endorse the violence that erupted during a weekend basketball tournament in Bartow County and was captured in a now viral video. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Coach: Viral video of brawl at basketball game doesn’t tell whole story," 10 July 2018 The Governor of Puerto Rico responded to a viral video of a woman being harassed for wearing a Puerto Rican flag shirt Monday. Alix Langone, Time, "Puerto Rico Governor Says Cop Should Be Fired After Woman Harassed in Viral Video," 10 July 2018 But her fundraising numbers have for months trailed the haul brought in by Bryce, who kicked off his campaign with a viral video that got national attention. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Randy Bryce reports raising $1.2 million in last three months," 9 July 2018 There are no viral videos of Pokécrowds gone amuck anymore. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "The Quiet, Steady Dominance of Pokémon Go," 6 July 2018 One viral video shows an automatic soap dispenser in a public bathroom that only dispenses soap onto white hands. The Christian Science Monitor, "AI can have values if not a conscience," 2 July 2018 Remember last year, when the internet became obsessed with a viral video showing the most efficient way to cut a cake? Olivia Harrison,, "We've Been Cutting Watermelon Incorrectly Our Whole Lives," 28 June 2018 Eventually, their exchange would get packaged by NowThisPolitics into a viral video that was shared more than 77 thousand times on Facebook, but that wouldn’t come until May 28. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "The Making of a Moral Crisis," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'viral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of viral

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near viral






viral marketing


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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for viral

The first known use of viral was in 1937

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More Definitions for viral



English Language Learners Definition of viral

: caused by a virus

: spreading very quickly to many people especially through the Internet


vi·ral | \ ˈvī-rəl \

Medical Definition of viral 

: of, relating to, or caused by a virus viral infections

Other words from viral

virally \-rə-lē \ adverb

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Comments on viral

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to make amends

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