viral

adjective
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

Croup is usually caused by a viral infection, like parainfluenza virus, which can also cause laryngitis in adults, Gina Posner, M.D., a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "HGTV's Tarek and Christina El Moussa's Son Was Hospitalized for Croup," 16 Oct. 2018 Although the cause remains a mystery, researchers suspect that AFM may be triggered by certain viral infections. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Cases of Rare Neurological Condition Rise in U.S.," 16 Oct. 2018 The viral infection is spread through barking, coughing, and sneezing when pets are in close contact with infected animals. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018 See, bacteria are under constant assault from viruses and produce enzymes to fight off viral infections. Brad Plumer, Vox, "A simple guide to CRISPR, one of the biggest science stories of the decade," 23 July 2018 Like other cells, bacteria often find themselves victims of viral infections, dying as new viruses burst out to infect their neighbors. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using a virus to kill what antibiotics can’t," 18 July 2018 One study, published in the U.S. journal Environmental Health Perspectives, showed that even small amounts of the chemicals made the algae in coral susceptible to viral infection. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Hawaii to ban sunscreen that damages coral," 7 July 2018 The bat’s unique approach to viral infection could also explain why viruses that transfer from bats to humans, including Ebola, are so severe. Lucy Cooke, Washington Post, "The batty, explosive history of bats in the military — and why this new idea just might work," 2 July 2018 Since mono is a viral infection, antibiotics are not necessary and should be stopped. New York Times, "My Daughter Has Mono. Is the Whole Family at Risk?," 29 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

Vipionidae

vir

virago

viral

Virales

viral marketing

virama

Statistics for viral

Last Updated

13 Nov 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

viral

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of viral

: caused by a virus

: spreading very quickly to many people especially through the Internet

viral

adjective
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).

WORD OF THE DAY

full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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