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

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Other Words from viral

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

Examples of viral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That last part is where Bouman's algoirthm comes into play, and the result of such is the black hole image that went viral. Kristen Bobst, Teen Vogue, "Women Like Katie Bouman Helped Us See a Black Hole for the First Time," 12 Apr. 2019 Women are at the forefront of protests in Sudan by citizens calling for the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for 30 years, a fact captured by one powerful photograph that went viral after it was shared yesterday on Twitter. Bridget Read, Vogue, "The Women of the Sudan Uprising Are Demanding to Be Heard," 9 Apr. 2019 Zelenskiy, 41, is famous for his TV portrayal of a schoolteacher who becomes president after a video of him denouncing corruption goes viral. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Comedian leads presidential polling in Ukraine," 30 Mar. 2019 Few tech companies go viral quite like Boston Dynamics does, what with their robots that can run up stairs and open doors. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Boston Dynamics New Handle Bot Seems Destined For Warehouses," 28 Mar. 2019 This, as any young or digitally-savvy person would have guessed, was like tinder to a viral flame. Emily Farra, Vogue, "It’s 2019—Why Are We Still Debating the Appropriateness of Leggings?," 29 Mar. 2019 Documentaries including Fyre quickly go viral on social media and birth hundreds of memes. Glamour, "The Best True-Crime TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now," 28 Mar. 2019 After releasing a brand new trailer for their Map of the Soul: Persona album, members of the BTS ARMY have started a viral trend called the Persona Challenge. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The BTS "Persona" Challenge Has Fans Sharing Their Accomplishments and How BTS Inspired Them," 28 Mar. 2019 Hapless Charlie, along with a bunch of other wacky people (and a potential love interest or two), is assigned to investigate a viral outbreak of enigmatic dreams. Adam Woog, The Seattle Times, "Crime fiction: Jasper Fforde’s ‘Early Riser’ is not your average mystery novel," 25 Mar. 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

17 Apr 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 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 virally (audio) \ 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

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).


likely to have or produce good results

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