vir·​tu·​al ˈvər-chə-wəl How to pronounce virtual (audio)
: being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted
a virtual dictator
: being on or simulated on a computer or computer network
print or virtual books
a virtual keyboard
: such as
: occurring or existing primarily online
virtual shopping
: of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality
a virtual tour
: of, relating to, or using virtual memory
: of, relating to, or being a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence
virtual photons
compare real sense 3

Examples of virtual in a Sentence

The website provides a virtual tour of the stadium.
Recent Examples on the Web These virtual hunts are not only fun but educational, often incorporating puzzles that teach problem-solving and coding skills. Neil Sahota, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 The wave led to significant blowback on social media, sparking a virtual shrug from Reese. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024 There’s some nonsexual nudity, including brief full frontals, set in a virtual world. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 What's next Ford announced its virtual shareholder call is scheduled for May 9 at 8:30 a.m. Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2024 These unique digital certificates act as fingerprints, permanently attached to a wide array of digital creations, from captivating artwork and soul-stirring music to intricate virtual lands and exclusive collectibles. Kyle Russell, Journal Sentinel, 28 Mar. 2024 The Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s first mixed reality headset, one that’s capable of offering both virtual and augmented reality experiences. Quentyn Kennemer, The Verge, 28 Mar. 2024 The first lady made a surprise virtual visit on Wednesday (March 27) to more than 150 students from Atlanta’s Jonesboro High School during an after-school rehearsal. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 28 Mar. 2024 Riese exuberantly offers to lead me in a virtual tasting. Tamar Adler, Vogue, 18 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'virtual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near virtual

Cite this Entry

“Virtual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


vir·​tu·​al ˈvərch-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce virtual (audio)
: being in effect but not in fact or name
a virtual dictator
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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