vir·​tu·​al | \ ˈvər-chə-wəl How to pronounce virtual (audio) , -chəl; ˈvərch-wəl \

Definition of virtual

1 : being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted a virtual dictator
2 : being on or simulated on a computer or computer network print or virtual books a virtual keyboard : such as
a : occurring or existing primarily online virtual shopping
b : of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality a virtual tour
3 : of, relating to, or using virtual memory
4 : of, relating to, or being a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence virtual photons — compare real sense 3

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Examples of virtual in a Sentence

The Web site provides a virtual tour of the stadium.
Recent Examples on the Web Hill's fate will be decided by Republican state delegates, who will mail in their own votes after the June 18 virtual state convention. Chris Sikich, The Indianapolis Star, "Tuesday's largely mail-in primary in Indiana is shaping up to be unique," 31 May 2020 Because the main library and its branches are closed for now, the program will be virtual this year. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "Children and teens can win prizes for reading during Dallas Public Library’s SMART Summer," 29 May 2020 Festival organizers must now also decide whether to continue their events, go virtual, or cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "Netflix isn't sending any films or talent to festivals this awards season," 28 May 2020 Many school districts are asking for more money after being forced to go virtual. Fox News, "Homeschool organization says public schools are blocking parents from withdrawing kids," 28 May 2020 In Eufaula, for example, more than half of the district's students are virtual. al, "Alabama prepares for more students to choose online school next year," 28 May 2020 Bjorson is someone Wright feels has stepped up as a leader, even with everything being virtual during the pandemic. Bloomington Herald-Times, "IU football grad transfer hopes to be dual-threat tight end," 28 May 2020 One of Mother Nature’s most spectacular shows is going virtual. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Annual Viewing of Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Famous Synchronous Fireflies Goes Virtual," 27 May 2020 The Republican National Committee’s rules call for an in-person convention, and the party’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, recently told reporters that a virtual convention held online isn’t under consideration. Maggie Haberman,, "Trump threatens," 25 May 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for virtual

Middle English, efficacious, potential, from Medieval Latin virtualis, from Latin virtus strength, virtue

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Time Traveler for virtual

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for virtual

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for virtual


How to pronounce virtual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virtual

: very close to being something without actually being it
: existing or occurring on computers or on the Internet


vir·​tu·​al | \ ˈvər-chə-wəl How to pronounce virtual (audio) \

Kids Definition of virtual

: being in effect but not in fact or name : close to but not quite something Rain is a virtual certainty today.

Other Words from virtual

virtually adverb This animal is rare and has virtually disappeared in the wild.

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More from Merriam-Webster on virtual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for virtual

Spanish Central: Translation of virtual

Nglish: Translation of virtual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of virtual for Arabic Speakers

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