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 stomach flu The stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is a common intestinal infection that can cause nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and sometimes a fever, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "8 Vomiting Causes to Consider Next Time You’re Really Sick," 18 Jan. 2019 The increase in cost is designed to support (and is likewise probably a consequence of) Netflix's increasing push for original content, which includes popular shows like Stranger Things and viral movies like Bird Box. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Price of Netflix Is Going Up," 15 Jan. 2019 Marie Kondo's viral Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, picks up where her NYT's bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, left off. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Thrift Stores And Flea Markets Are Seeing An Influx Due To Marie Kondo," 15 Jan. 2019 In 2017, the then-16-year-old kicked off a viral attempt to get Wendy’s to give him free chicken nuggets for a year. Hamza Shaban, The Seattle Times, "Japanese billionaire takes over top spot on Twitter after he offers prize money for retweets," 7 Jan. 2019 While many people are trying a viral trend and putting their sponge in the microwave, DON'T. Forte says Maker's method will be the most effective. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Beautyblender in 3 Easy Steps, According to Experts," 2 Jan. 2019 One crew member immediately runs afoul of a viral shaming campaign, for which the penalty of not getting enough upvotes is a lobotomy. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The Orville blends science fiction and science fact into a winning mix," 29 Dec. 2018 That sentiment flowed into a second post, which featured a now-viral cartoon by illustrator Marshall Ramsey. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jenna Bush Hager Writes Powerfully of George H. W. Bush's Dream of Being Reunited With Loved Ones in the Afterlife," 1 Dec. 2018 The hilarious, but slightly painful looking moment has understandably gone viral. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chrissy Teigen Saw in 2019 by Bashing into an Umbrella on Live TV," 1 Jan. 2019

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


Statistics for viral

Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on viral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with viral

Spanish Central: Translation of viral

Nglish: Translation of viral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of viral for Arabic Speakers

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a complex dispute or argument

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