vi·​ril·​i·​ty | \ və-ˈri-lə-tē How to pronounce virility (audio) , British also vī- \

Definition of virility

: the quality or state of being virile:
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 But as a fantasy of the type of guy a woman should never fall for in real life, Douglas’s Midge Kelly is perfect: His wiry build and swooping pompadour are part of his hardscrabble virility. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Remembering Kirk Douglas, One of the Last Surviving Links to Old Hollywood," 5 Feb. 2020 But Commerce is more than just bragging about the virility of American business. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "Don’t sleep on Wilbur Ross," 30 Sep. 2019 At this point, sending up the plain-spoken virility of Ernest Hemingway — perhaps the most parodied of all American writers — may indeed be like shooting fish in a barrel. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Wives,’ the Other Halves Have Their Say," 16 Sep. 2019 But Zima was typecast as a girly drink, with all the virility of a white wine cooler. Esther Mobley,, "Hard seltzer is this summer’s biggest scam," 20 Aug. 2019 There’s also Brett McKay’s Art of Manliness podcast, which has garnered over a million subscribers and which idolizes the bullish virility of Theodore Roosevelt. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, "Men at Work," 28 Oct. 2019 The Latin viridis evoked virility, virtue, and verdure. John Patrick Leary, The New Republic, "Corporate America Has Sapped “Green” of Meaning," 25 Oct. 2019 An experiment equating veganism with virility proves an intriguing, if giggly aside. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Game Changers’ makes an athlete-fueled case for a plant-based diet," 26 Sep. 2019 The female body is a spectacle, designed to be looked at; or a single-use item, designed for childbirth; or a weakness, lacking in masculine strength and virility. National Geographic, "Could a woman walk around the world today?," 5 Apr. 2019

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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Time Traveler for virility

Time Traveler

The first known use of virility was in 1586

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Statistics for virility

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for virility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with virility

Spanish Central: Translation of virility

Nglish: Translation of virility for Spanish Speakers

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