vir·​ile | \ ˈvir-əl How to pronounce virile (audio) , ˈvir-ˌī(-ə)l How to pronounce virile (audio) , British also ˈvī(-ə)r-ˌī(-ə)l \

Definition of virile

1a : having traditionally masculine traits especially to a marked degree
b : characteristic of or associated with men : masculine
2 : having the nature, properties, or qualities of an adult male specifically : capable of functioning as a male in copulation

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Other Words from virile

virilely adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for virile



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Examples of virile in a Sentence

men were once expected to be interested only in such virile activities as hunting
Recent Examples on the Web Desperate, virile and indefatigable, each of these bitty boys will mate with as many females as possible, plugging away until the fur sloughs off his skin, his immune system fails and blood pools around his organs. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom," 14 Feb. 2020 Images of these men on horseback or in classical profile began appearing on posters and handkerchiefs and even crockery, the pinup boys of the revolutionary age–virile and virtuous and handsome. Ian Beacock, The New Republic, "Can Democracy Handle Charisma?," 17 Aug. 2020 Congratulations, your virile starter can now bake bread. Lindsay Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Top Chefs Share What They Are Cooking While in Isolation," 8 Apr. 2020 To the younger set, the crisis was a concern for the old and feeble, not the young and virile. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: Who's responsible for coronavirus misinformation and mishaps? Here are our picks.," 26 Mar. 2020 Remembering Kirk Douglas Kirk Douglas, one of the most famous American leading men of the mid-20th century remembered for his dimpled chin, chiseled features, and virile Hollywood roles, died Wednesday at the age of 103, his family announced. Fox News, "Trump to tout 'country's victory' after impeachment acquittal; dejected Democrats look for path forward," 6 Feb. 2020 Anger and empathy: a curious pair, the one so virile and aggressive, the other so ostensibly female. Lauren Elkin, Harper's magazine, "Trash, Rock, Destroy," 25 Nov. 2019 The artist’s virile exemplars helped liberate gay men from society’s cheap assignations — as mentally disturbed fops mincing out roles as faux women. R. Daniel Foster, Los Angeles Times, "An L.A. home where homoerotic artist Tom of Finland lived is a shrine to his legacy," 2 Oct. 2019 There was another problem: What separated many of these operators from their less-virile counterparts on the American homefront was their capacity for horrifying brutality. Adrian Bonenberger, The New Republic, "The Sum of All Beards," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virile.' 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 virile

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for virile

Middle French or Latin; Middle French viril, from Latin virilis, from vir man, male; akin to Old English & Old High German wer man, Sanskrit vīra

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Time Traveler for virile

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The first known use of virile was in the 15th century

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Statistics for virile

Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for virile


How to pronounce virile (audio) How to pronounce virile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virile

: having or suggesting qualities (such as strength and sexual energy) that are associated with men and that are usually considered attractive in men


vir·​ile | \ ˈvir-əl How to pronounce virile (audio) , ˈvir-ˌīl \

Kids Definition of virile

: having qualities generally associated with men


vir·​ile | \ ˈvir-əl, ˈvi(ə)r-ˌīl, British also ˈvī(ə)r-ˌīl \

Medical Definition of virile

1 : having the nature, properties, or qualities of an adult male specifically : capable of functioning as a male in copulation
2 : characteristic of or associated with men : masculine

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