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

When Six Flags rejected a Fort Worth teen from a job because of his hairstyle, the story went viral. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "Teen whose hair cost him job at Six Flags Over Texas turns heads at modeling agency," 6 July 2019 As seen in the video that went viral last weekend, the teen girl licks a half-gallon of Tin Roof Blue Bell ice cream and puts it back in the freezer. Tribune Content Agency,, "Blue Bell ice cream licker identified, name not released," 6 July 2019 The insides of people’s heads are one thing, but the notion of adding horns to the outside is bound to go viral. Faye Flam, Twin Cities, "Faye Flam: Some things are scary. ‘Horns’ from smartphone use aren’t.," 6 July 2019 In a video that went viral last week, a woman licked Blue Bell ice cream out of the carton and put it back on the shelf at a Texas location of a retail giant. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Blue Bell licker tracked down to Lufkin store, could face 20 years in prison, police say," 5 July 2019 Photos of Mariam nuzzling the experts who care for her have gone viral in Thailand, and people are flocking to Ko Libong island to watch her feedings. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Friendly Baby Dugong Becomes Conservation Symbol in Thailand," 3 July 2019 In an ironic twist, the photo of Nicchi went viral after the image was posted to Reddit, and quickly made it to the site’s front page. Melissa Locker, Time, "Social Media Influencers Have to Pay Double at This Soft Serve Truck Because the Ice Cream Man Has Reached His Melting Point," 3 July 2019 The incident occurred April 18 and was recorded in a cell phone video that went viral. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Broward County deputies charged with misdemeanors in connection with brutal arrest of teenager," 3 July 2019 In Friday’s quarterfinal against tournament hosts France, Rapinoe scored twice to seal a 2-1 victory for the US, and a photo of her goal celebration went viral. Jonah Dylan,, "Sue Bird pens explosive article on Rapinoe, Trump and more ahead of World Cup semifinal," 2 July 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

10 Jul 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

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