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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from viral

virally \ˈvī-rə-lē \ adverb

Examples of viral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But for now, Karras — who has lofty Broadway goals, according to his Twitter — seems to be taking his viral success with a grain of salt. Raisa Bruner, Time, "People Are Really, Really Obsessed With This Guy's Shrek Impression," 10 July 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of viral

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about viral

Dictionary Entries near viral






viral marketing


Statistics for viral

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for viral

The first known use of viral was in 1937

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on viral

What made you want to look up viral? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!