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Syllabification: vir·u·lent
Pronunciation: /ˈvir(y)ələnt

Definition of virulent in English:


1(Of a disease or poison) extremely severe or harmful in its effects.
Example sentences
  • Mark Oliver Everett is what epidemiologists and Dustin Hoffman call a hot spot, a highly contagious carrier of an extremely virulent disease who infects anyone who crosses his path.
  • And on the nursing front, Alwin notes that there's been an outbreak of atypical pneumonias in Asia, possibly harbingers of a more virulent flu strain to come.
  • There is no question that the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has focused the world's attention on the dangers of how easily a virulent disease can spread around the globe.
1.1(Of a pathogen, especially a virus) highly infective.
Example sentences
  • The paper reflects a major step forward in the study of how some of the world's most virulent viruses, such as West Nile, SARS, Ebola and Hepatitis C interact with their hosts.
  • Dr. Mackinnon said: ‘How does immune selection create more virulent pathogens?’
  • Labs are rated on a scale of one to four, four being the highest level of containment where the nastiest, most virulent pathogens are handled.
2Bitterly hostile: a virulent attack on liberalism
More example sentences
  • It becomes more obvious that the options the two Parties present to the electorate, offer the unenviable choice between a raging toothache, a migraine, and a virulent attack of the Farmer's.
  • Over the years, founder Ted Byfield has been particularly virulent in his attacks on the mindset that is increasingly reliant on government handouts and regulation.
  • When word came that Iron Mike had been floored by a virulent attack of the sniffles, his disconsolate well-wishers had to shuffle off without meeting their thick-necked hero.
vitriolic, malicious, malevolent, hostile, spiteful, venomous, vicious, vindictive, bitter, sharp, rancorous, acrimonious, scathing, caustic, withering, nasty, savage, harsh


late Middle English (originally describing a poisoned wound): from Latin virulentus, from virus 'poison' (see virus).



Example sentences
  • And avian flu is particularly feared, of course, because of its virulence.
  • I should not have been startled by the virulence of these attacks.
  • And that leads onto the second point: the virulence of the replica, or rather of the replication process.


Example sentences
  • The disease, which causes painful, ulcerating blisters on the mouth, feet, and udders, is virulently contagious, and once introduced can quickly infect an entire herd.
  • But the Prince's repeated use of the word ‘epidemic’ implied, irresponsibly, that these conditions are virulently contagious.
  • They fell foul of the powers that be, however, for their virulently outspoken stance in opposition to The Falklands War (where, like the Gulf War, hardly any protest was made).

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Word of the day prepotent
Pronunciation: prɪˈpəʊt(ə)nt
greater than others in power or influence