vi·​ral | \ ˈvī-rəl How to pronounce viral (audio) \

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

Other Words from viral

virally \ ˈvī-​rə-​lē How to pronounce viral (audio) \ adverb

Examples of viral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pitt is certain the next pandemic will be caused by a virus, underscoring the need to diminish opposition to vaccines, the top weapon against viral disease. USA Today, 15 May 2022 Whenever a new video goes viral, the photo-widget apps get more downloads. Dalvin Brown, WSJ, 15 May 2022 This year, five new categories were added, four of which are based on Billboard's global charts, and one measuring viral songs. Editors, USA TODAY, 14 May 2022 This is likely how BA.2.12.1 is spreading quite rapidly; in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut alone, the viral subvariant is tied to upwards of 70% of new infections alone, per recent reports. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 14 May 2022 Partial sequencing of the viral genome, though, has already pinpointed one particular type of adenovirus that predominates in the hepatitis cases: adenovirus 41, also known as 41F. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 13 May 2022 In China, the world’s largest pork-producing nation, farmers killed hundreds of millions of pigs due to the viral disease in 2018 and 2019. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2022 In addition to vaccines, North Korea is believed to lack adequate testing capabilities and anti-viral treatments to treat COVID-19. Byshannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 13 May 2022 On this episode of the Fifth & Mission podcast, Chronicle health reporter Catherine Ho joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about how anti-viral pills like Paxlovid are providing peace of mind. Fifth & Mission Podcast, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of viral

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for viral

vir(us) + -al entry 1

Learn More About viral

Dictionary Entries Near viral




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for viral

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Viral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for viral


vi·​ral | \ ˈvī-rəl How to pronounce viral (audio) \

Medical Definition of viral

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

Other Words from viral

virally \ -​rə-​lē How to pronounce viral (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on viral

Nglish: Translation of viral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of viral for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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