virile

adjective

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
1
a
: 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
3
4
virilely adverb

Example Sentences

men were once expected to be interested only in such virile activities as hunting
Recent Examples on the Web That has not been Cruise's approach — not even in misfires like 2001's Vanilla Sky — because that would cheapen his persona, which is virile without necessarily being erotic. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 14 Dec. 2022 Snugly: The Fox News man — virile, muscular, steeped in history — is under siege from the softness of a woke society, and the evidence shows up in the numbers, goes the argument, which cites declining sperm counts and the like. Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2022 Smith makes for a winningly virile, impassioned Douglass. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2022 William Jackson Harper is a rom-com minor deity who has more than once been cast as a non-virile Black man in a relationship with a white woman. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022 As such, the Second Symphony, completed in 1875 and premiered in 1877, is crackling with heroic swagger and brimming with virile rhythmic gusto. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 In every case, a strong body is the goal, and most often, that means a virile male body. Derek Beres, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2022 Rap battles take the place of duels in this virile production, performed on a set as blank as the pages of a drama that might yet be written. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 But only Cooper was nominated Wednesday for his comedic turn as a virile hotshot producer, and the film was passed over completely in the best cast category. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near virile

Cite this Entry

“Virile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virile. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

virile

adjective
1
a
: having the nature, powers, or qualities of an adult male : masculine
b
: having traditionally masculine qualities especially to a noticeable degree
2

Medical Definition

virile

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