vir·​u·​lent | \ ˈvir-ə-lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio) , ˈvir-yə- \

Definition of virulent

1a : 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

Other Words from virulent

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 Meanwhile, an even more virulent variant is vrooming through India. Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2022 The less virulent variant has not set hospital records and the current wave is expected to crash over Oregon by infecting far more people than the delta surge while killing far fewer residents. oregonlive, 7 Feb. 2022 Health authorities have already advised the rest of the U.S. population to receive a booster shot to better protect against the more virulent Omicron variant. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 24 Jan. 2022 But most people who get infected, even with a more virulent variant, will experience mild or no symptoms. Allysia Finley, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2022 This year, restaurants, gyms and schools will stay open through the fall and winter, unless something shocking changes with the coronavirus, like the appearance of a highly virulent variant that can escape the vaccines. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 The attending physician in the House of Representatives announced that the chamber was reinstating its mask mandate as the virulent Delta variant of the coronavirus drives the latest surge of infections. Harold Maass, The Week, 29 July 2021 When a clinic in Egypt failed to help his worsening symptoms, Patterson was flown to Germany, where doctors discovered a grapefruit-size abdominal abscess filled with Acinetobacter baumannii, a virulent bacterium resistant to nearly all antibiotics. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 8 July 2022 Cybersecurity is now an imperative in the face of global and virulent threats that can simply take your business down. Jc Gaillard, Forbes, 30 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virulent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of virulent

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

History and Etymology for virulent

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

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

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Virulent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for virulent


vir·​u·​lent | \ ˈvir-ə-lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio) \

Kids Definition of virulent

: spreading quickly and causing serious harm a virulent disease


vir·​u·​lent | \ -lənt How to pronounce virulent (audio) \

Medical Definition of virulent

1a : 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

Nglish: Translation of virulent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of virulent for Arabic Speakers


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