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 Facebook faced backlash from employees during the protests after leaving up posts from President Trump threatening violence against the demonstrators, which led to a virtual walkout at the company. Roland Li,, "Facebook commits $200 million to support black-owned companies, artists," 18 June 2020 Some Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout to protest the company's stance, but Zuckerberg has stood by his emphasis on free speech. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Facebook page that copies President Trump's posts gets flagged for violence – when the president's didn't," 12 June 2020 Last week, some Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout over inaction on the matter. Michelle Toh And Donie O'sullivan, CNN, "Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan say they are 'disgusted' by Trump's comments," 12 June 2020 Mark Zuckerberg’s inaction ignited a revolt by Facebook staff: Some employees staged a virtual walkout, others criticized the CEO in a staff meeting, and at least one engineer resigned in protest. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Silence of the Never Facebookers," 10 June 2020 Some employees staged a virtual walkout by not logging on for work. The Economist, "Business this week," 6 June 2020 Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, grappled with a virtual walkout Monday by hundreds of his employees over the issue but has continued to defend his decision to leave Trump’s messages untouched. Kate Conger,, "Snap says it will no longer promote Trump’s account," 3 June 2020 Nonetheless, about 400 employees participated in a virtual walkout on Monday in protest of Facebook's inaction. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Employees, civil rights groups blast Facebook inaction on Trump statements," 3 June 2020 In response, dozens of Facebook employees participated in a virtual walkout Monday, and many more expressed outrage in internal forums and on Twitter. Elizabeth Dwoskin, Anchorage Daily News, "Zuckerberg defends decisions on Trump as Facebook employee unrest grows," 2 June 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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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