vi·​ril·​i·​ty | \və-ˈri-lə-tē, British also vī-\

Definition of virility 

: the quality or state of being virile:

a : manhood sense 3

b : manly vigor : masculinity

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Did You Know?

Luckily, there's no doubt about what virility is, since it's depicted on the covers of dozens of new romance novels every month! A masterful and dominating manner, a splendid bared chest, a full head of lustrous hair, and an array of stunning costumes seem to be what's required. (Virile traits often missing in these men are hair on the chest and any hint of future baldness.) High-school football provides a showplace for demonstrations of adolescent virility, and for years afterward virile high-school players can keep using football language in their business life: "get to the red zone", "Hail Mary pass", "move the ball", and on and on.

Examples of virility in a Sentence

many cultures value virility as a sign of power

Recent Examples on the Web

Rhino horn is traditionally used to treat ailments including fever, rheumatism and gout, and tiger-bone products have been used for relieving joint pains and boosting male virility. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Suspends Its Relaxation of Wildlife-Trade Ban," 12 Nov. 2018 Various hypotheses have been proposed, including the idea that dangling gonads are a way to signal virility and good health, but none are satisfactory. New York Times, "The Evolutionary Origin of Descending Testicles," 29 June 2018 In the Senate race, much of the negative tone has been set by Corey Stewart, a one-time Trump state campaign chairman who has frequently attacked fellow Republicans and mocked their looks and virility. Washington Post, "Virginia Republicans at odds - and throats - in Trump era," 16 May 2018 Think about this: Donald Trump created a PR executive named John Miller, who used to call the New York tabloids in the 1980s and tout the virility, success and general appeal of Donald Trump. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "This 1990 Donald Trump quote in Playboy magazine explains today perfectly," 31 May 2018 Putin, a 65-year-old man in a country with a male life expectancy of 64, embodies an image of Russian virility and swagger. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The 'Strongmen Era' Is Here. Here’s What It Means for You," 3 May 2018 And then Capital-V virility and capital-F femininity fade away. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Glenda Jackson, 82, on Sexism, Earning Your Wrinkles, and Cynthia Nixon's Run for Governor," 9 May 2018 In inviting John Holiday, a true male soprano with a voice of soaring purity and none of the nasal virility more common of countertenors, the L.A. Phil had the best of both worlds. Mark Swed,, "The L.A. Phil's Bernstein and Beethoven peace project," 20 Apr. 2018 The wicked irony is that McBurney, who prides himself on his virility and swarthy looks, is confined to a traditionally feminine role in tending the garden. Amandas Ong, The Atlantic, "Why Pop Culture Links Women and Killer Plants," 17 Apr. 2018

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

1586, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for virility

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for virility

The first known use of virility was in 1586

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More Definitions for virility


vi·​ril·​i·​ty | \və-ˈril-ət-ē, British also vī-\
plural virilities

Medical Definition of virility 

: the quality or state of being virile: as

a : the period of developed manhood

b : the capacity to function as a male in copulation

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More from Merriam-Webster on virility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with virility

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for virility

Spanish Central: Translation of virility

Nglish: Translation of virility for Spanish Speakers

Comments on virility

What made you want to look up virility? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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