virulent

adjective

vir·​u·​lent ˈvir-ə-lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio)
ˈvir-yə-
1
a
: marked by a rapid, severe, and destructive course
a virulent infection
b
: able to overcome bodily defensive mechanisms : markedly pathogenic
virulent bacteria
2
: extremely poisonous or venomous
3
: full of malice : malignant
virulent racists
4
: objectionably harsh or strong
virulent criticism
virulently adverb

Examples of virulent in a Sentence

The country seemed to be returning to the virulent nationalism of its past. the virulent look on her face warned me that she was about to say something unkind
Recent Examples on the Web Birds can carry highly contagious diseases affecting poultry, like the virulent Newcastle disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Marisa Garcia, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 Hunt dreaded the idea of explaining this meeting to her godfather, who, no doubt, would become even more incensed on learning that her misjudgment had led to a new, virulent conspiracy theory among senior opposition lawmakers. Elliot Ackerman, WIRED, 5 Feb. 2024 Scores of virulent riot police have shown up to evict them without prior notice. Carlos Aguilar, Variety, 29 Jan. 2024 Musk, who has mostly made headlines in recent weeks for endorsing virulent antisemitic theories on his social media platform, took to the stage almost half an hour late, initially delivering his presentation from the back of a truck with his face hidden in shadow. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2023 Indeed, the study has gone down in the annals of American history as one of the most notorious, but by no means only, examples of medicine at its most prejudicial, virulent and unethical. Caitjan Gainty, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Jan. 2024 In soccer, the world’s most popular and lucrative sport, the kingdom has brought global superstars such as Karim Benzema, Neymar, and Jordan Henderson to the desert to play their trade, laboring not only under the region’s sweltering heat but virulent criticisms of sportswashing. Lewis Gordon, The Verge, 1 Dec. 2023 Football, for all its unabashed ties to virulent tribalism or staunch regionalism, makes those inherent differences fairly difficult to mend. Tyler R. Tynes, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2023 In other words, virulent anti-Zionism and virulent antisemitism ultimately intersect, at a very bad address for the Jews. Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, 10 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, "discharging watery pus, purulent," borrowed from Latin vīrulentus "full of poison, venomous," from vīrus "venom, poisonous fluid" + -ulentus "having in quantity, full of" — more at virus

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of virulent was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near virulent

Cite this Entry

“Virulent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virulent. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

virulent

adjective
vir·​u·​lent ˈvir-(y)ə-lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio)
1
a
: marked by a rapid, severe, and often deadly course
a virulent infection
b
: able to overcome or break down the defenses of the body
a virulent germ
2
: extremely poisonous : noxious
3
: full of hate : spiteful
virulently adverb

Medical Definition

virulent

adjective
vir·​u·​lent -lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio)
1
a
: marked by a rapid, severe, and malignant course
a virulent infection
b
: able to overcome bodily defense mechanisms
a virulent pathogen
2
: extremely poisonous or venomous : noxious

More from Merriam-Webster on virulent

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