Definition of virile in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvirəl/


1(Of a man) having strength, energy, and a strong sex drive.
Example sentences
  • He deconstructs myths of the tough virile man, laying his anxieties bare on the floor.
  • These guys all want to come home, have their necks rubbed, have their slippers handed to them, and be told what big, virile men they are.
  • I must be very lucky person because every time I look at my e - mail someone wants to make me a millionaire, help me lose weight or become the world's most virile man.
manly, masculine, male;
strong, tough, vigorous, robust, muscular, muscly, brawny, heavily built, rugged, sturdy, lusty, husky;
red-blooded, fertile
informal macho, butch, beefy, hunky, testosteronic
1.1Having or characterized by strength and energy: a strong, virile performance of the Mass
More example sentences
  • Entrapment: ‘a subtle and surprisingly virile performance’.
  • A wonderfully virile performance of a great work!
  • Cummins is a vulnerable, angry, intense, virile and passionate performer, making a ‘raging bull’ appear human, sad, remorseful and honourable.


Late 15th century (in the sense 'characteristic of a man'): from French viril or Latin virilis, from vir 'man'.

  • virago from Old English:

    The second chapter of the Book of Genesis describes the creation of Eve: ‘And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ In the Latin version of the Bible known as the Vulgate, the word Adam uses for Eve is Virago. This is not the insult it appears to be now. Virago meant ‘heroic woman, female warrior’ in Latin and derived from vir ‘man’, the source of virile (Late Middle English) and virtue (Middle English) originally meaning ‘manliness. Virago first appeared in English with reference to Eve, but medieval man started using it in the disparaging sense ‘a domineering, violent, or bad-tempered woman’ that survives today.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vir·ile

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