Definition of virtual in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvəːtʃʊ(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /ˈvəːtjʊəl/


1Almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition: the virtual absence of border controls
More example sentences
  • The first is the cost of research and the need for profits to justify such costs; the second is the absence from virtual markets of the purely profit-based phenomenon of arbitrage.
  • One day the richest among us could turn nearly immortal, becoming virtual Gods to the rest of us.
  • Eastern provinces near the Pakistan border have also become virtual no-go areas.
effective, in effect, near, near enough, essential, practical, for all practical purposes, to all intents and purposes, in all but name, indirect, implied, implicit, unacknowledged, tacit
2 Computing Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so: virtual images See also virtual reality.
More example sentences
  • Once they figured out how to get Trojans onto computer, creating their own virtual spamming super computer, spammers have adopted this method for most of the spam they send out.
  • This paper explores the potential for developing virtual dissection software for physical collaboration.
  • The software also supports multiple virtual desktops.
2.1Carried out, accessed, or stored by means of a computer, especially over a network: a virtual library virtual learning
More example sentences
  • One museum Web site featured a virtual tour of the museum's physical galleries.
  • Yet it is the teachers who must make the virtual classroom - with all its practicalities - actually function.
  • There is a major need for expert mediated virtual libraries (VLs) of well-selected and described links to scholarly and educational resources.
3 Optics Relating to the points at which rays would meet if produced backwards.
4 Mechanics Relating to or denoting infinitesimal displacements of a point in a system.
Example sentences
  • The frames feature a unique Four-Bar linkage to create a stationary virtual pivot point on the pedal axle of the bike.
5 Physics Denoting particles or interactions with extremely short lifetimes and (owing to the uncertainty principle) indefinitely great energies, postulated as intermediates in some processes.
Example sentences
  • An electron blasts a proton and neutron into myriad virtual particles, which then reconfigure themselves into two double-quark particles.
  • The resulting electric field would create a plasma of electrons and positrons from among the virtual particles surrounding the star.
  • But the gluons are unlike the carrier particles of the electromagnetic force which appeared along with the virtual electrons and positrons.



Pronunciation: /vəːtʃʊˈalɪti/ Pronunciation: /vəːtjʊˈalɪti/
Example sentences
  • Letting go is an interesting gesture, because in fact it's almost like invoking the virtuality of the self, just putting it spontaneously on the table.
  • What's important here is that this virtuality had actual consequences: it erased particular histories and experiences.
  • So should we expect reality and virtuality to diverge?


Late Middle English (also in the sense 'possessing certain virtues'): from medieval Latin virtualis, from Latin virtus 'virtue', suggested by late Latin virtuosus.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vir|tual

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