Definition of virtual in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvərCH(o͞o)əl/


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, to all intents and purposes
1.1 Computing Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so: a virtual computer 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.
simulated, artificial, imitation, make-believe;
computer-generated, online, virtual reality
1.2Carried 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.
1.3 Optics Relating to the points at which rays would meet if produced backward.
1.4 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: /ˌvərCHo͞oˈalədē/
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

Syllabification: vir·tu·al

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