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

The team was a virtual melting pot of players at the beginning of the year with a transfusion of players from different teams, including the Okeeheelee Wolfpack 12-Under team from where Hunholz and three other players came. Gary Curreri,, "Wellington Colts reach tournament semifinals," 14 June 2019 Each will put a reported $10 million into a consortium to govern the virtual coin, which will apparently be unveiled next week. Alan Murray, Fortune, "The Art of the Deal: CEO Daily," 14 June 2019 Train the Mind now has around 140 members since opening its virtual doors in January. René A. Guzman,, "San Antonio service trains youth athletes to cope with game stress," 13 June 2019 And the most potentially disastrous product of this unholy alliance would be a vigilante state empowered to apprehend and detain designated enemies of the state—in Trump’s case, undocumented immigrants—at its virtual whim. Ed Burmila, The New Republic, "If Trump wanted to give himself sweeping new powers, could anyone stop him?," 13 June 2019 The band plays live with the virtual Dio -- an arrangement that Eyellusion's Pezzuti predicts will be more common as top touring stars such as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Ozzy Osbourne approach their 80s and retire from the road. Steve Knopper,, "'We're not trying to raise the dead,' says Dio drummer Simon Wright of the Ronnie James Dio hologram show hitting town," 13 June 2019 How does virtual line work (11:39) Celebrity sightings (12:08) How has Universal Orlando’s partnership with Harry Potter impacted other theme parks? Orlando Sentinel Podcasts,, "PODCAST: Explore magic of Universal’s Harry Potter with jaunt inside Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s coaster (Ep. 2)," 12 June 2019 Trip Highlights Work with Google engineers who are designing mapping and virtual exploration software. National Geographic, "High School Technology and Innovation Workshop in the Silicon Valley," 12 June 2019 The icing on the cake is the console's SSD, which will be used as virtual ram. Brittany Vincent, Popular Mechanics, "The Next Xbox Is Coming⁠—and So Are These 5 Long-Awaited Games from Microsoft," 11 June 2019

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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Statistics for virtual

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for virtual

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

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More Definitions for virtual



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

Comments on virtual

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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